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>> president obama has nominated chuck hagel to replacereplace leon panetta as e secretary. mr. hegel is a war veteran. he served in the senate until 2009. after his senate career, he became part of a foreign-policy think tank. at his confirmation hearing today, he had some back and forth with former colleagues, including senator john mccain. that exchange is about an hour and a half into the hearing. later, we will get your thoughts about the nomination and hearing on our phone lines at 11:00 p.m. eastern, 8:00 pacific.
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carl levin chairs the armed services committee and makes the opening statement. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> good morning, everybody. the committee meets today to consider the nomination of former senator chuck hagel to be secretary of defense. before i begin, i want to first welcome senator inhofe as the new ranking republican on our committee, succeeding senator mccain. senator mccain has been a great partner over the past six years, and i thank him for all
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the work he has done to get bills enacted, his leadership on a host of issues, his support for the work of this committee, and for always keeping our hearings likely. -- lively. senator inhofe has shown his strong commitment to the national defense over his 20 years on this committee. and i know that we are going to work well together and continue the bipartisan tradition of the committee. we are also pleased to welcome the eight senators who are joining the committee this year, both of those who are new to the senate and those who are new to our committee. senators donnelly, hirono, kaine, and king on the democratic side, and senators blunt, cruz, fischer, and lee on the republican side. you will all find that this is a wonderful committee where we
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work across party lines to support our troops and their families, and their national defense mission. i would also like to pause for a moment to offer my thanks and the thanks of our committee to secretary panetta, who delayed his retirement and his return to california to serve our country, first as director of central intelligence, and then as secretary of defense. secretary panetta has provided a steady hand at the department of defense through two very difficult years, and has earned our great respect and our appreciation. finally, the committee will be holding hearings next week on benghazi, and the weeks thereafter on the impact of a sequester on the department of defense. senator hagel, we welcome you to the armed services committee as an old friend, those of us with whom he served during your
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years in the senate. there are few jobs were demanding that the position to which you have been nominated. the hours are long and extremely challenging, and require sacrifices from both the secretary and his family. we traditionally give our nominees an opportunity to introduce their families at these hearings, and we would welcome your doing so during your opening statement. if confirmed, senator hagel would be the first former enlisted man and the first veteran of the vietnam war to serve as secretary of defense. you cannot read and senator hagel's account of his military service and not be impressed by it. as senator hagel explained a few years ago, but " probably most fundamental for me, when we talk about going to war, we need to think it through carefully, not just for the political and diplomatic and economic
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consequences, and those are important, but at least for me, this old infantry sergeant thinks about when i was in vietnam in 1968. someone needs to represent that perspective in our government as well. the people in washington make the policy, but it is the little guys to come back in the body bags." senator hagel's background provides an invaluable perspective, not only with respect to the difficult decisions and recommendations that the secretary of defense must make regarding the use of force and the commitment of u.s. troops overseas, but also with respect to the day to day decisions that the secretary must make to ensure that our men and women in uniform and their families received the support and assistance they need and deserve. it would be a positive message for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in harm's way around the world to know that one of their own holds the
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highest office in the department of defense, and that he has their backs. senator hagel, you would be in position to make key decisions on afghanistan. the secretary of defense is called upon to advise the president on the size and mission of a post-2014 so- called residual force, and the pace of the drawdown between now and the end of 2014. the key to this transition is ensuring the readiness and ability of afghan security forces to take over the defense of their own country. i always believed that would be our main mission and its key to success. during my trip to afghanistan with senator jack reed last month, we heard from u.s.
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commanders on the ground that afghan security forces are operating on their own on most operations, including conducting more than 85% of operations, with limited or no u.s. support in the difficult regional command east take difficult obstacles remain with the process of reducing our forces and shifting responsibility to afghan forces, including the difficulty of negotiating the status of forces agreement, including recent reports that the afghan government might slow down a successful program of growing and training the afghan local police, and including questions about the current plan to reduce the size of the afghan national security forces from 352,000 to around 132,000 after -- 230,000
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after 2015. we face a number of new and growing threats elsewhere in the world, such as the ongoing threat posed by iran's nuclear weapons program and the increase in early destructive civil war -- increasingly destructive civil war in syria, and the risks of conflict could result in the loss of control of the countries substantial stockpile of weapons. there is continuing instability in other countries affected by the arab spring. the growth of al qaeda affiliates in unguarded regions including yemen, somalia, and north africa, and continued unpredictable behavior of the nuclear-armed regime in north korea. we face these challenges at a time when the dod budget is under unique pressure as a result of cuts previously agreed upon by congress, the budgeting by continuing
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resolution, and the impending threats of a sequester. secretary panetta has said that a sequester would be devastating for our military. senator hagel's views on the sequester will be of great interest to this committee and the nation. those of us who have served with senator hagel in the senate know that he is a man who was not afraid to speak his mind. senator hagel has made a number of statements over the course of his career which committee members will ask him about during today's hearing. for example, senator hagel has stated that unilateral sanctions against iran, "are exactly the wrong approach," and that "the worst thing we could do is try to isolate iran." i believe that while effective multilateral sanctions are preferable, unilateral sanctions are an important part of the approach that the obama administration has followed and congress has supported, and it appears that sanctions are producing tremendous pressure on iran. another statement which has raised concern is senator
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hagel's recommendation that we conduct, "direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the government of iran." now, while there is value in communicating with our adversaries, the formulation used by senator hagel seemed to imply a willingness to talk to iran on some issues that i believe most of us would view as non-negotiable, and any willingness to talk to iran would need to be highly conditional. senator hagel's reassurance to me and my office that he supports the obama administration's strong stance against iran is significant. we look forward to hearing senator hagel today in some depth on that subject. we will also be interested in hearing senator hagel's statement on the public statements is made on israel and the united states, that our
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policy of non-engagement with the syrians as, "isolated us more than the syrians," and a 2009 statement that "we should not isolate hamas," a terrorist organization. there is much to be explored at this hearing. but as we struggle with the difficult security challenges facing our nation, the president needs to have a secretary of defense in whom he has trust, who will give him unvarnished advice, a person of integrity, and one who has a personal understanding of the consequences of decisions relative to the use of military force. senator hagel certainly has those critically important qualifications to lead the department of defense. senator inhofe. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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first of all, i would like to echo your remarks about secretary panetta and the work he has done. i don't see him here today, but i do recall that when he was first nominated, i was probably one of the first phone calls to him, and i have enjoyed working with him and a mccain, the same way, i continue to depend on his counsel. you and i have worked very well together in the past. mr. chairman, before i continue the opening statement, i would like to raise a concern about the sufficiency of the materials provided to this committee by our nominee. senator hagel was requested to provide the speeches he has delivered over the past five years. yet his initials the mission was -- initial submission was for only four speeches, even though, as was noticed by
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senator cruz, he had 12 speeches but submitted four speeches. well, we received some more, but only late last night i think it would have been a lot more helpful if we had received them before that. i hope we will be able to get that information before we have to cast votes on this nominee. the president's nomination for senator hagel for secretary of defense comes at a critical juncture. secretary hagel is a good man. i am a great admirer of the time he spent in vietnam, and the sacrifices he made. while this service is commendable, his nomination should be decided by the totality of his record. it is the votes he has cast and the statements he has made that will inform us as to his judgment, his view of america's role in the world, and his view of the military requirement to support that role.
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as i told senator hagel in my office some time ago, over two weeks ago, after a long and careful review of his record, the things he has said, and the things i have personally experienced with him, we are too philosophically opposed on the pressing issues facing our country, and therefore i told him i would not be supporting his nomination. his record demonstrates what i view as a lack of his steadfast opposition to policies that diminish u.s. power and influence throughout the world, as well as a recent trend of policy reversals based on political expediency rather than on core beliefs. with many of the security challenges facing u.s. interest around the world, senator hagel's record is deeply troubling and out of the mainstream read too often, it seems he's willing to subscribe to it worldwide view that is
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predicated on appeasing our adversaries while shunning our friends. no man survives when freedom fails. i will mention a few of these things because they will come in this hearing. in 2000, an overwhelming majority of the senators sent a letter to president clinton for reaffirming our solidarity with israel. i carried that their around. -- letter around. i remember it well. senator hagel is one of just four who refused to sign that letter. i am sure he will want to comment on that. in 2001, he was one of just two senators voting against the bill for extending harsh sanctions against iran. a year later, he urged president bush to support iran's membership in the world
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trade organization. senator hagel voted against a resolution designating iran's revolutionary guard corps, a group responsible for killing soldiers in iraq and afghanistan, as a terrorist organization. on multiple occasions, he has advocated for direct negotiations with iran, a regime that continues to oppress its people and doggedly pursue a nuclear weapon capability and employ terrorist proxies including hamas and hezbollah. senator hagel has been an outspoken supporter of nuclear disarmament and global zero movement. we are very sensitive to that. the president has said many times that he wants a nuclear- free world, and i know that senator hagel is right there with him, but and a time when north korea's belligerent actions threaten our allies with nuclear capabilities, and the security of our own nation and that of our allies, why would we want to unilaterally disarm ourselves of nuclear capability?
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of late, however, senator hagel has expressed views in meetings with senate colleagues and i have been informed that they are glaringly at odds with long- held positions, particularly regarding israel, iran, and our nuclear arsenal. this willingness to walk back his positions, possibly for the sake of political expediency on input and issues, is deeply troubling, and sends a concerning message to our allies and adversaries alike. though i respect senator hagel, his record demonstrates that he would be a staunch advocate for the continuation of the misguided policies of the president's first term, retreating from america's unique global leadership role. it will embolden our enemies and endanger our allies and provide an opportunity for
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nations that do not share our interests to fill the global leadership vacuum we leave behind. it is for these reasons that i believe he is the wrong person to lead the pentagon at this perilous and consequential time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, senator inhofe. we have two former chairmen of this committee with us to introduce senator hagel. no senator has had two dearer friends or better mentor is i have hadtors than with senators nunn and warner. i want to welcome them back to this committee. i don't have to tell them that they are among dear, dear
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friends. it is a real treat to welcome you back to the committee. i will call on you, senator nunn, first. i will call you alphabetically. i have no better way to do it. sam? [laughter] sam, welcome back. >> first, for the record, seniority and age are two different things. senator levin, ranking member inhofe, i am honored to join my friend john warner in presenting chuck hagel to the committee and recommending that chuck be confirmed as our secretary of defense. i think it is worth noting that 68 years ago this month, john warner and listed in the u.s. -- enlisted in the u.s. navy to fight in world war ii.
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that was the start of his great career in public service, and john, i am proud to be here by your side. mr. chairman, i spent a lot of time sitting in your seat, and congratulations on not having to do that today -- >> i don't know how long it will last, but thanks for pointing it out. >> you and senator mccain have effectively guided this committee in its important role as an compelling voice for defense. you have managed to pass authorization bills even during contentious times. thank you both for your dedicated service to our nation. i am confident that you and senator inhofe will continue this tradition, and that senator mccain will still be a very, very valuable member and a voice on this committee. i believe our nation is fortunate to have a nominee for secretary of defense with the character and the experience and courage and leadership that chuck hagel would bring to this position.
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first, chuck is acutely aware that even in an age of rapid technological advances, our military capability and effectiveness depend on the quality and the morale of the people who serve our nation in uniform, as well as the families who support them. chuck received two purple hearts in vietnam, and he continued to fight for veterans and active duty military personnel. he knows that our people are the strongest assets. second, chuck's experience in vietnam shape his life in perspective. war for chuck hagel is not an abstraction. i am confident that if confirmed, he will ask the hard and smart questions before sending troops into battle. chuck hagel knows that the united states has vital interests that are worth fighting for and dying for. he also knows that war should be a last resort, and that our
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nation must effectively use all of our tools, not limited only to our military, to protect our important and to protect our vital interests. certainly, mr. chairman, there is a tension in these values, but it is a tension we should welcome in the thought process and in the advice that our secretary of defense gives to our commander in chief and this congress. from our service to gather on -- together on the defense policy board in recent years, i know that chuck hagel has a clear worldview, and that is aligned with the mainstream of u.s. foreign and defense policy and also with president obama. chuck hagel believes we must preserve the american strength as a force for good in the world. he recognizing that protecting our interests requires strong
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allies and friends, as well as strong american leadership. third, chuck has the depth of experience and leadership skills required to handle this tough job. there is no shortage of security challenges around the world, as this committee knows and as you enumerated this morning, mr. chairman. a very large and impressive group of former cabinet officials and public servants from both sides of the aisle have said that they trust chuck hagel with this important responsibility. and i strongly, i strongly agree. fourth, on the fiscal side, i am confident that chuck will be a powerful advocate for a common-sense approach in this administration and on capitol hill regarding fiscal challenges to the defense budget. he understands that our defense capabilities are being threatened on two budget friends. first, sequestration, with its damaging, across the board, up from the budget cuts, and second, the rapidly rising
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costs within the department's budget, including but not limited to health care, personnel, and retirement costs. mr. chairman, members of the committee, i believe that chuck will work effectively with this committee and congress on meeting these budget challenges while protecting our people, our capabilities, and while ensuring that the united states has the strongest military in the world. chuck hagel was a soldier and a senator, but he has been also a highly successful executive in both the public and private sectors. he built a successful company from the ground up. he is a man who knows how to prioritize and make tough decisions. he will listen to and carefully consider the views of our military and civilian leaders and guided them as necessary. fifth, i believe that chuck hagel will be a balanced and responsible voice on a nuclear weapons policy. president reagan said it often and said it well -- "nuclear war cannot be won and it must
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not be fought." as this committee knows, the risks of a global nuclear war have thankfully, substantially declined since the breakup of the soviet union. but with nine nations possessing nuclear weapons, with a nuclear weapons usable material and knowledge spread across the globe, and if terrorists manage to buy, steal, or make one, we face enormous risks that a nuclear weapon would be used if proliferation continues in places like iran and north korea, and if we do not secure them globally, the odds of use go up even more. six years ago, george shultz, bill perry, henry kissinger and i made the argument that we should reduce reliance on nuclear weapons as a vital contribution to preventing proliferation, keeping them out of dangerous hands, and ultimately ending them as a
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threat to the world. 2/3 of living former secretaries of state, defense, and national security advisers have agreed with the vision and the steps that we outlined, including substantial work on verification and enforcement. mr. chairman, i hope that all members of the committee and the senate will read the recent statements by four credible and very experienced americans -- master tom pickering, ambassador richard burt, general james cartwright, and general john sheehan, about their work with chuck hagel on nuclear weapons. they made it abundantly clear that the bank opposed unilateral moves -- they oppose unilateral moves and support verifiable u.s. arms reductions, to be followed by multilateral negotiations bringing other nuclear weapons countries into a series and verifiable process of reductions.
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in closing, mr. chairman, there are many essential characteristics and values that the secretary of defense should possess in a dangerous and challenging world. let me name just two or three that i think are very important. first, someone who is well informed, has an open mind, in cages in critical thinking, who is capable of and seeks out independent thought. second, someone who sets aside fixed ideologies and biases to honestly evaluate all options and provide his or her candid judgment to the president and the congress. third, someone who pays attention to people with the best ideas, regardless of their party affiliation. no one is perfect, we all know that. but chuck hagel comes as close as anyone i know to having all of these qualities. mr. chairman, senator inhofe, members of the committee, i served for 24 years on this committee and i know that much
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has changed since i retired 16 years ago. i continue to believe, however, that every major problem we face today requires the best input from both political parties if we are to arrive at a solution. i believe that chuck hagel will seek that input. i urge his support by this committee and i urge the confirmation of this nomination by the u.s. senate. i thank the chairman. >> thank you very much, senator nunn. senator warner. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is a very moving experience for me to reenter this room. i served on this committee for 30 years. in that period of time, senator nunn was the chairman and i was renting. -- ranking. but i want to say to you and jim inhofe -- jim and i have been good friends and we worked
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together not only on this committee, but other committees, and you will be a fine ranking member. you follow in the steps of my dear, valued friend of so many years, john mccain. and the leadership of this committee throughout my 30 years of the senate has been drawn from the ranks of the strongest and the best of this membership. we have it today, and i have every reason to believe we will have it tomorrow. i have a very fortunate record of public service for many years. no chapter was more important than my service on this committee. you will carry with you the rest of your life the recollections of the work you have done for
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one of america's most valued assets, the men and women and their families of the armed services of the united states. i had written out a nice, long statement, and then last night, statement and's chuck hagel's statement, and i felt that another statement would not do. i would rather say a few words from the heart. i was in the navy. i did no more than any other kid on my block. we all went. good friends, we thank chuck
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hagel and mrs. hegel and his family. because if confirmed, is an enormous commitment by the family to this position. you have made the decision to offer yourself once again to public service. public service is a privilege. i have always regarded it as such. this statement will soon be shared by you. i read it through not once or twice, but again this morning.
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i have never read more carefully prepared statement, a more forthright statement, and one that has no hedges or deviations. he hits firm on those issues that will make the decision in your mind and that of your colleagues as to whether or not he is qualified to take on this very important assignment. i first entered the pentagon in 1969 during the war in vietnam under melvin laird. jim schlesinger followed and i worked with every secretary of defense since that period of time. all different, all with their
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strengths and indeed some of their weaknesses, but set forth in this is a series of commitments to you as a committee, to the members of the full senate and to the american public as precisely what his goals are and what he will do. how he will serve the president, how he will give the president his best advice, and i know chuck to give it very strongly. so i am going to talk a little bit about crack hagel, the man i served with for 12 years. my distinguished colleague and longtime friend, sam, had gone when chuck arrived at the senate. first year he was here, we had daniel defense authorization -- the annual defense authorization
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bill on the floor, and in those days, as it is today, that bill goes on that floor, that bill stays on that floor. sometimes a couple days, sometimes a couple of weeks. we get it through. when it's done we go back to our committee's faces and we begin to write that bill and get it to the printer so that we can go to conference. how many times have we done that together, senator nunn, senator levin, senator mccain, senator inhofe? many times. well, the first year he was here he watched that process, and when i had taken the staff back to the committee room, surprisingly, he showed up and i didn't know him that well, although i studied his biography and i wanted to get to know him because of my deep and abiding interest in the vietnam period having served for five years in that period as secretary, under secretary of the navy. he strolled in the room and i introduced him to the people and he said to the staff, you are one of the most impressive group of young people i've ever seen.
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i learned a lot. and he shared some of his stories as a simple but elegant soldier that he was. and's how he started, thereafter he voted for every single final passage of the authorization bill, every single final passage of the appropriation bill. he was honed and learned in that generation of vietnam, and i'm so proud to have the affiliation of having been, yes, in comparative safety, the pentagon, but i did go to the field of battle and see these young men and some women who engaged in that struggle, but chuck hagel brings with him the experience of having come home,
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come home to an america that was quite different, and what i than what i experienced when my generation came home from world war ii, we were welcomed with open arms. america at that time in vietnam, and how well john mccain can remember this, was very divided, and when you wore your uniform back home, it didn't see the same respect it deserved for the sacrifices that you and your colleagues had committed. chuck will never forget that. i will never forget it. john will never forget it. today we welcome home and we do it with the fullest heart the young men and women that there have been times in history, and that was one, and so that honed him to be prepared to take on his responsibilities as he addresses the declining budget situation which is going to be
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a challenge. and i am absolutely certain that he will stand up and fight as hard as two of your predecessors, leon panetta, you mentioned today, and robert gates. they gave their president loyalty but they gave him their best advice and tough and fought for their troops and drilled down that they've got to maintain whatever budget and sequester is not the route. but whatever budget, maintain morale and combat readiness. and also, ladies and gentlemen, that pillar of strength of our military system, the all- volunteer force. we had drafts in vietnam.
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we saw the effect of that. and we decided as a nation to take a gamble, to let every person who wished to wear the uniform give them that opportunity and to volunteer. no one is forced in there. that has got to be maintained. this man has the experience and graphs to and the strength to protect the all-volunteer force. i also was deeply impressed by the senate and the manner in which it confirmed john kerry. john kerry served in that time and he went through trials and tribulations and came home and faced the public the way that chuck did. the senate confirmed him with a very, very strong vote, and they sent him away ready to take on the enormity of his
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responsibility. now, i mention that because in my experience, i've seen a good deal of camaraderie and the competition between the secretaries of defense and the secretaries of state. it just sort of built in there and a lot of times sand gets in that gearbox, but it's important to the united states that they, having the major jurisdiction of most of the policy issues, work as a team. john kerry and chuck hagel are a band of brothers out of vietnam with that special bond, and i'm sure that you will utilize that and remember and make those two departments perform their function, best service the president and best service the country. so i pretty well said everything i should say. i want to be brief because it's important that this committee
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pursue its work, but, again, bob gates, leon panetta, set the bar for this century of those who take on this job and you mentioned your long friendship and how you know both. i'd keep close contact. they've had the experience to deal with this president of the united states, and you're the president's choice. folks, there's an old saying in the combat army infantry and marine corps. certain men are asked to take the point, which means to get out and lead, in the face of the enemy. chuck hagel did that as a sergeant in vietnam. if confirmed, chuck hagel will do it again. this time not before a platoon but before every man and woman
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and their families in the armed services, you will lead them, and they will know in their hearts, we have one of our own. you're on your own. good luck. \[laughter] >> well, we thank you both, senator warner, senator nunn, for your powerful introductions. i just wish every member of the senate, every american could have heard, and i hope will hear and read about what you said here today about chuck hagel. and i also notice there's another former senator who is a member of that band of brothers who is with us today. i just noticed in the audience max cleland is here and i want to welcome you, max, an old friend of the committee and of the senate and of the nation.
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so let me now call on senator hagel, and senator warner, senator nunn, again, thank you for your introductions and you are free to get back to your lives or to stay as you wish. >> thank you. >> senator hagel. >> thank you, chairman levin, ranking member inhofe and distinguished members of the committee. i am honored to come before you today as the president's nominee to be secretary of defense. first, as you suggested, mr. chairman, let me introduce my family. my wife, lilibet, our son, ziller, and our daughter, allyn, are not with us today. our son, ziller, claims he's taking a test. we'll confirm that later.
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but both are a son and daughter that lilibet and i are very, very proud of. and i think like any proud father and any proud mother, you all know how i feel about that as you have the same feelings about your children, it's the same way lilibet and i feel about ours. i also want to introduce my brother, tom, who served with me in vietnam. my brother mike, who is our number three brother. and i might add who actually possesses any talent our family has, he has in the pentagon 10 paintings as chairman of the air force artist over the years, and they're hanging in different locations in the pentagon. so we have one brother of some
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acclaim. and one of us did make it. my brother mike. behindson is sitting him, josh. thatone of three children mike has. we have here also cousins, many friends, people i owe money to. \[laughter] and who knows who else. i have received some publicity over the weeks. i want to also thank my friends, sam nunn and john warner. i want to thank them for their support, their encouragement and their friendship over many years. and as each of you who had the privilege of serving with those two senators, i, too, add my thanks for their tremendous
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service to our country. these two distinguished americans represent what the best about american public service and responsible bipartisanship. they have embodied both in their careers, long distinguished careers, and are models for each of us. and of course to my family and friends and my fellow veterans who are here, as has been noted, max cleland, jan scruggs, veterans from all wars. i am grateful to them. not just for fellow friends and veterans who are here but those not here, thank you. a life is only as good as the family and friends you have and the people you surround yourself with. i also want to thank my friend, leon panetta, for his tremendous service to our
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country over so many years. if i'm given the privilege of succeeding him, it will be a high honor. president obama, for his confidence and trust in me, i thank him. i'm humbled by the opportunity and the possibility he's given me to serve our country once again. and i fully recognize the immense responsibilities of the secretary of defense. i assured the president that if i am confirmed by the united states senate i will always do my best, i will always do my best for our nation and for the men and women and their families who are called on to make the enormous sacrifices of military service. their safety, success and welfare will always be at the forefront of the decisions i make. i also assured the president that i would always provide him with my most honest and informed advice.
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i make that same commitment to this committee and to the congress. if confirmed i will reach out to the members of this committee for advice and collaboration. it will be a partnership, because the national security challenges america faces require it. our nation's security is the highest priority of our leaders and our government. we cannot allow the work of confronting the great threats we face today to be held hostage to partisanship on either side of the aisle or by differences between the bodies represented in articles 1 and 2 of our constitution. the stakes are too high. men and women of all political philosophies and parties and ideas die and fight for our country. as this committee knows so well, protecting our national security our committing a nation to war can never become political litmus tests. i know secretary panetta has put a strong emphasis on reaching out to the congress. i, like leon, come from the congress and respect and understand this institution's
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indispensible role and setting policy and helping govern our country. we are all products. forces that shape us. for me there has been nothing more important in my life or more defining influence on my life than my family. whether it was helping my mother raise four boys after my father, a world war ii veteran, died suddenly at age 39 on christmas day, or serving side by side my brother, tom, in vietnam or the wonderful miracle of my wife, lilibet and me being blessed with two beautiful children. that is who i am. we each bring to our responsibilities frames of reference. these frames of reference are formed by our life's experiences. they help instruct our judgments.
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we build out from those personal foundations by continually informing ourselves, listening and learning. like each of you, i have a record, a record that i'm proud of. i'm proud of my record, not because of any accomplishments i may have achieved or certainly because of an absence of mistakes but rather because i tried to build that record based on living my life and fulfilling my responsibilities as honestly as i knew how and with hard work. underpinning everything i've done in my life was a belief we should always be striving to make our nation a more better and secure place for all our people. during the 12 years i had the privilege of serving the people of nebraska in the united states senate, i cast over 3,000 votes and hundreds of committee votes. i've also given hundreds of interviews and speeches and written a book. so as you all know, i'm on the record. i'm on the record on many issues. but no one individual vote, no one individual quote, no one individual statement defines me.
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my believes or my record, my overall world view has never changed. america has and must maintain the strongest military in the world, that we must lead in the international community to confront threats and challenges together and take advantage of opportunities together and that we must use all our tools of american power to protect our citizens and our interests. i believe and i always have believed that america must engage in the world, not retreat from the world but engage from the world. my record is consistent on these points. it's clear that we are living at a defining time. our nation is emerging from over a decade of war. we have brought our men and women in uniform home from iraq and have started to bring them home from afghanistan. that does not mean that the threats we face and will continue to face are any less
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dangerous or complicated. in fact, it is quite the opposite. recent events in mali and algeria remind us clearly of this reality. 21st century complexities, technologies, economies, threats are bringing the seven billion global citizens closer together than ever before. and as our planet adds another two billion people over the next 25 years, the dangers, complications and human demands will not be lessened but rather heightened. despite these challenges, i believe we also have historic opportunities to help build a safer, more prosperous, more secure, more hopeful and just world that maybe at any time -- than maybe at any time in the history of people. yes, the intolerance continues around the world and we must continue to be clear eyed about this danger and we will be.
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we will not hesitate to use the full force of the united states military in defense of our security, but we must also be smart and more importantly wise, wise in how we employ all of our nation's great power. america's continued leadership and strength at home and abroad will be critically important for our country and the world. while we will not his -- hesitate to act unilaterally when necessary. it is essential that we closely with our allies and partners to enhance america's interests and security as well as global security. if confirmed i will continue to build on the efforts of this administration and a former secretaries gates, secretary panetta and secretary clinton to strengthen our alliances and partnerships around the world. i will also look forward to working with my former senate colleague, your colleague and
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our friend, john kerry, in this pursuit. as i told the president, i am committed to his positions on all issues of national security, specifically decisions that the department of defense is in the process of implementing now. this includes the defense strategic guidance the president outlined in january, 2012. allow me to very briefly address a few of those specific issues now. first, we have a plan to place -- a plan in place to transition out of afghanistan, continue bringing our troops home and end the war which has been the longest war, as we all know, in america's history. as you also know, discussions are ongoing about what the u.s. presence in afghanistan will look like after 2014. the president has made clear and i agree that there should be only two functions for u.s. troops that remain in
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afghanistan after 2014. counterterrorism, particularly to target al qaeda and its affiliates, and training and advising afghan forces. it's time we forge a new partnership with afghanistan, with its government and most importantly with its people. second, as secretary of defense i will ensure we will stay vigilant and keep up the pressure on terrorist organizations as they try to expand their affiliates around the world in places like yemen, somalia and north africa. at the pentagon, that means continuing to invest in and build the tools to assist in that fight, such as special operations forces and new intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies. and it will mean working hand in hand with our partners here at home, across the national security intelligence communities to confront these and other threats, especially the emerging threat, the very dangerous and real threat of cyberwarfare. as i made clear, i am fully
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committed to the president's goal of preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. and as i have been on record on that issue and as i've said in the past many times, all options must be on the table to achieve that goal. my policy has always been the same as the president's, one of prevention, not of containment. and the president has made clear that is the policy of our government. as secretary of defense, i will make sure that the department is prepared for any contingency. that's my job. that's my responsibility. i will ensure our friend and ally israel maintains its qualitative military edge in the region and will continue to support systems like iron dome, which is today saving israeli lives from terrorists' rocket attacks. that support i have always made clear and been on the record for. fourth, while we pursue the reductions in our deployed
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stockpiles and launchers consistent with the new start treaty, i am committed to maintaining a modern, strong, safe ready and effective nuclear arsenal. america's nuclear deterrent over the last 35 years has played a central role in ensuring global security and the avoidance of a world war iii. i have been committed to that. my record is clear on that. i am committed to modernizing our nuclear arsenal. as we emerge from this decade of war, we must also broaden our nation's focus overseas as we look at future threats and challenges. as this committee knows, that's why d.o.d. is rebalancing its resources toward the asia pacific region. we are in the process of modernizing our defense posture across the entire region to defend and deepen our partnerships with traditional allies, especially japan, south korea and australia. to continue to defer and defend
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against provocations from states like north korea as well as nonstate actors. and to expand our networks of security cooperation throughout the region to combat terrorism, counterproliferation, provide disaster relief, fight piracy and ensure maritime security. i will continue this rebalancing even as we continue to work closely, closely with our longtime allies of nato and our friends and with allies and partners and friends in other regions of the world. at the same time we'll continue to focus on challenges in the middle east and north africa where we have clear national interests. rather as a recognition that the united states has been and always will be a pacific power. in the asia pacific area is increasingly vital to america's security and economic interests. that's why we must become even more engaged in the region over the incoming years. during all of this and much more will require smart and
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strategic budget decisions. i have made it clear i'm sure leon panetta and the concerns of the impact just ration will have on our armed forces. as someone who has run businesses, i know that the uncertainty and turbulence of the current budget climate makes it much more difficult to manage the pentagon's resources and our national security. if confirmed i'm committed to effectively and efficiently using every single taxpayers' dollars the right way, to maintain the strongest military in the world and to working with congress to ensure that the department has the resources it needs and that the disposition of those resources is accountable. even as we deal with difficult budget decisions, i will never break america's commitment to our troops, our veterans and our military families. we will continue to invest in the well-being of our all- volunteer force and working with the v.a. and other
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institutions we will make sure our troops and their families get the health care, job opportunities and education they have earned and deserve. just as i did when i co- authored the post-9/11 g.i. bill with senators jim webb, frank lautenberg and john warner. this includes focusing on the mental health of our fighting force, because no one who volunteers to fight and die for this country should ever feel like that they have nowhere to turn. that's unacceptable for this country. in my 12 years in the senate, my one guiding principle on every security decision i made and every vote i cast was always this, simply this -- is our policy worthy of our troops and their families and the sacrifices that we ask them to make? that same question will guide me if i am confirmed as
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secretary of defense. our men and women in uniform and their families must never doubt that their leaders' first priority is them. i believe my record of leadership on veterans' issues over the years going back to my service in the veterans administration under president reagan demonstrates my rock- solid commitment to our veterans and their families. we must always take care of our people. that's why i will work to ensure that everyone who volunteers to fight for this country has the same rights and same opportunities as i discussed with many of you in our meetings. i'm fully committed to implementing the repeal of don't-ask, don't-tell and doing everything possible under current law to provide equal benefits to the families of all, all our service members and their families. i will work with the service chiefs as we officially open combat positions to women, a decision i strongly support. and i will continue the important work that leon panetta has done to combat sexual assault, sexual assault in the
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military, maintain the health and well-being of those who serve as critical to maintaining a strong and capable military because in institutions people must always come first. as we look ahead to the coming years, we have an extraordinary opportunity, opportunity now, at this moment to define what's next for america's military in our country. it is incumbent upon all of us to make decisions that will ensure our nation is prepared to confront any threat we may face in the future, protect our citizens and remain, remain the greatest force for good in the world. if confirmed as secretary of defense, it will be a great honor working with the president, this committee, the congress and our military to ensure our policies are worthy of the service and sacrifice of america's men and women. thank you, mr. chairman. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much, senator
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hagel, and here's what the plan is now for the hearing. -- what the plan is now for the hearing. we'll have a first round of eight minutes each. we have a vote that is scheduled for 12:15. we're going to work through that vote so -- and we're also going to work through lunch, which means we would ask are you to vote sometime during that 12:15 vote and come back, for those who haven't had your turn yet. there are five votes at 2:15. i hope that we can complete our first round by 2:00 or 2:15 so we could then have a late lunch at 12:15 during those five votes. we would then come back perhaps an hour later. we would ask those who have not had a turn, if that's the case, or during our second round that to begin our second round that
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you on the final vote, vote early and then come back so we can start as quickly as possible around the 3:15 or 3:30, i would assume, to either complete the first round, if it hasn't been completed, or to begin our second round. the -- because of the time crunch, we have standard questions which we ask of all nominees. i am going to ask those at a later time during this hearing, but we will ask them, and again i think we hope to finish today. we'll leave the record open for questions, but our goal would be to finish today no matter how long it takes today. then to have the record open for questions. so let us now begin our first round of eight minutes. senator hagel, you made reference to the looming sequester.
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we received a letter signed by the joint chiefs of staff relative to sequester which says that we're on the brink of creating a hallowed force based on budget conditions and legislation. they have talked about the readiness crisis which would result, grounding aircraft, returning ships to port, stop driving combat vehicles and training and so forth. can you -- and you've spoken very briefly about your agreeing in general with the impact. would you expand on the impact of that sequester from your perspective? >> well, mr. chairman, i think the chiefs have laid it out rather directly, plainly, as secretary panetta has as recently as two, three days ago, ash carter in an interview, went into some detail. the fact is, the bottom line is if sequester would occur, it isn't just a reduction in a significant amount of dollars that would occur, but it would be a convergence of taking the
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flexibility, the projection, the management, the future away from those who are responsible for managing our budget. furloughs. furloughing civilian employees would have to occur. you listed inventory of consequences of cutting back on flying time, of training. these are real consequences that would occur. i know the pentagon, the chiefs, those who have responsibility or managing every department of this three million operation security institution are preparing for the worst. but make no mistake, this is not an exaggeration. when managers are not given the
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flexibility and the opportunity and the tools to manage with complete uncertainty as to what's ahead, that's disaster. >> thank you. on the question of iran and the use of force, the president has said that iran's leaders should understand that president obama does not have a policy of containment. he has a policy to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, that he's made clear that he will not hesitate, in his words, to use force when necessary to defend the united states and its interests. do you agree with president obama's position that, quote, all options should be on the table, closed quote, to let iran from obtaining a nuclear
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weapon? >> i do, i have and i strongly agree with it. >> on iranian sanctions. president obama has said that the sanctions which have been put in place are crippling the economy of iran. i have to agree. their currency has dropped 80%. oil production has plunged. the economy is in the shambles. do you agree with the president's views on sanctions against iran and if so how do you reconcile your position with some of your past statements that suggest that the national security of the united states is not served by isolating iran? >> well, first, i do agree and always have agreed with
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multilateral sanctions because i think they have an effect sand i think this president, in particular, has probably done more than any president to effectively employ those kind of international sanctions, starting with a security council u.n. agreement and u.n. mandates. so i agree with what the president's doing. and i've said publicly, incidentally, long before the president ever asked me to consider this job, that additional sanctions might be required. as to my record on votes in the senate regarding unilateral sanctions, i have differed on some of those. i have voted for some as well.
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it was always on a case-by-case basis. when i voted against some of those unilateral sanctions against iran, it was a different time. for example, i believe one was in 2001, 2002. we were at a different place with iran during that time. as a matter of fact, i recall the bush administration did not want a renewal of the five-year renewal of ilsa during that time because they weren't sure of the effectiveness of sanctions. that wasn't the only reason i voted against it. it was because i thought there might be other ways to employ our vast ability to harness power and allies. it was never a question of did i disagree with the objective. the objective was i think very clear to both of us. i recall, for example, in 2008, secretary of state rice, sending
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a letter to the chairman of the finance committee, senator -- senator baucus, requiring a sanctions resolution unilateral in the finance committee not come out of the finance committee because the bush administration at the time was working with the russians specifically but with the security council of the united nations to try to get international sanctions which i think that effort, by the way in 2008, led to the 2010 international sanctions. >> can you give us your view on the size of the u.s. force, which might be necessary or would be necessary after 2014, the so-called residual force, if you have an opinion on the size? you indicated in your opening statement two missions for that residual force. can you also give us your opinion about the size of the afghan national security force after 2014 and whether you agree with me and senator graham on this committee and others that we ought to reconsider the position that the afghan national security force should be reduced by a third starting in 2014 to about 230,000 from what its current goal is which is about 350,000? >> as you all know, general allen has presented his options
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to the president for the president's consideration. as far as i know as of this morning, the president had not made a decision on what a residual force numbers-wise would look like. i have not been included in those discussions, so i don't know other than knowing that he's got a range of options as you do. but i would say that from what the president has told me, from what secretary panetta has told me, that that decision will be made to assure resourcing the mission and the capability of that mission. as to what kind of a force structure should eventually be in place by the afghans, i don't know enough about the
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specifics to give you a good answer other than to say i think that has to be a decision that is made certainly with the president of afghanistan, what we can do to continue to support and train and protect our interests within the scope of our ability to do that. obviously the immunity for our troops is an issue, which was an issue with iraq. all those considerations will be important and will be made. if i'm confirmed and in position to give the president advice on that, i will with consultation of our commanders on the ground and our chiefs, give him the best options we can provide. >> will you review that question of the size of the afghan force with an open mind if confirmed? >> i will because i think we have to. >> thank you.
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senator inhofe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. senator hagel, my first question's not to be responded regarding the position but i want to state the position or restate the position on five things i mentioned during my opening statement merely to ask you if those are accurate reflections of things that happened in the past. first one is in 2007, you voted against the designating iran islamic revolutionary guard corps as a terrorist organization. the second thing, in 2006 you were one of 12 senators who refused to position the e.u. to identify hezbollah as a terrorist group. third, in november of twee, you failed to -- 2003, you failed to vote on a syrian accountability act with sanctions -- occupation of lebanon.
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four, in 2001, you were one of only two senators that year to vote against renewal of the iran-libya sanctions act. and lastly, in 2001, you were one of four senators who refused to sign the letter supporting israel. are those accurate? >> well, let's start with the -- >> no. i just want to know if the statement -- these are votes that took place. do you agree those votes took place? >> i want to ask the letter
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that you just noted in your fifth point, what was the date in the letter? >> the date. >> you said i refused to sign letter. >> october of 2001. >> a letter to -- >> ok. skip that one. is the other ones true? >> well, it was fairly important -- >> it's very important. i was holding the letter at the time that we were gathering signatures. >> i see. on the 2008 question regarding designating the revolutionary guard as a terrorist organization, i did vote against it. >> i'm sorry. i don't want to be rude. you and i are very good friends. i know my time's going to expire. others are going to ask why you did this. i was asking for the accuracy. if you don't want to answer that's fine. >> i did vote against it and i was going to explain why i voted against it. >> i know. they will be asking you for your explanation. i want to get to three other
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things and that's why it's critical that we kind of keep moving along here. one of the criticisms i had of this administration is the lack of priority and funding for the military. while they've increased the deficit by $5.3 trillion in four years, the only major part of the budget has been decreased is the military. that's something pretty well- known. a lot of people don't like that idea. the thing that bothers me just as much is putting the agenda, another agenda under the military budget. for example, you have heard senator mccain and me and others talk about the fact that the navy paid for 450,000 gallons of fuel, some $26 a gallon. you can get it on the market for $3. the air force, same thing. except it's $59 a gallon. and so the question i would have of you is just a commitment
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that if you are confirmed, will you confine the dollars that we are going to spend in the defense budget for defense purposes, for war-fighting purposes? >> well, of course i will because that's the intent of our budget and department of defense. >> i appreciate that very much. there was an article the other day in "the washington post" by jennifer ruben called, "our dim witted state department." it's kind of an interesting article. there are four questions that i'm willing to ask that you respond for the record. for people that don't know what it is, that means later on in writing. the questions i'd like that she asked. did the sell of the f-16's have morrissey crack down on his peep? would we still have sent the weaponry? how will we respond to the anti-democratic moves and the rise and violence against
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christians in egypt? or as will likely be the case, a failure to live up to egypt's security obligations regarding gaza? and four, have we miscalculated the muslim brotherhood? that would be for the record. in the area of the global zero policy, you and i talked about that in my office. others have talked about it. we're very much concerned. when i heard senator warner and others talk about what used to be the case, the problem in terms of nuclear capabilities, we used to be talking about russia and the united states.
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it's not true any more. our intelligence has told us since 2007 that iran will have that nuclear capability and a delivery system by 2015. so it's other countries that are involved in that. the question i would ask you, in your book you wrote that we must once again convince the world that america has a clear intention of fulfilling the nuclear disarmament committee -- commitments that we have made. the question, a bit more recently you said, i believe providing necessary resources for a nuclear modernization of the triad should be a national priority. do you stand by your last statement? >> my last -- >> your last statement saying -- i believe that providing the necessary resources for nuclear modernization of the triad should be a national priority? >> absolutely should be. i agree with that. and that's what the policy of this administration is. >> well, i'm merely bringing out the inconsistency because when you were involved with supporting the global zero or whatever that group, the organization was, their declaration is, quote, we the undersigned believe that protect our children, our grandchildren, our civilization from the threat of nuclear catastrophe, we must eliminate all nuclear weapons globally, we therefore commit to working for a legally binding
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verifiable agreement, including all nations to eliminate nuclear weapons by a date certain. >> the position of global zero, my position, some of the individuals, national security leaders that senator nunn talked about, including himself, has not been unilateral disarmament ever, never. we have over the years, which i have supported, the united states has led in reducing the efforts to reducing nuclear warheads. there was no more significant voice for that than ronald reagan when he laid before secretary general gorbachev in 1986 a rather bold plan. in fact, i believe, paraphrasing president reagan, we must eliminate nuclear warheads from the face of the earth, i believe he said something to that effect. global zero has been very clear on this. their effort has been in line with every major national leader in the world, including president obama, to continue to try to make an effort to reduce our nuclear warheads, but in a dangerous world, nuclear arsenals and our containment policy which i mentioned in my statement has been critically important. we're not going to unilaterally disarm. verifiable. it has to be bilateral. it has to be negotiated.
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as all our treaties have been. >> thank you, senator hagel. the reasonable i mentioned the mission statement, that's a group you belong to. we can talk about that later. you may want to expand on that for the record. my time has expired, but i have one last question i'd like to ask and that is, given that iran, the people -- i'm quoting right now from iran -- people of the middle east, the muslim region and the north africa, people of these regions hate america from the bottom of their heart. it further says israel is a cancerous tumor in the heart of the muslim world. and they're willing to wipe israel off the map. and if you'd like to answer for the record, why do you think the iranian foreign ministry strongly supports your nomination to be the secretary of defense? >> i have a difficult enough
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time with american policies, senator. i have no idea. but thank you. and i'll be glad to respond further for the record. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator inhofe. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. first, i'd ask unanimous consent that several letters of support, including one from 13 former secretaries of defense, secretaries of state, strongly endorse senator hagel's nomination be placed in the record. >> it will be placed in the record. >> i think the president chose wisely. there are very few people in the country with very few experience, as a combat infantryman, decorated and wounded, as a business leader, as the second leader of the veterans administration, as the united states senator, as someone who every day understands that the decisions we make will be carried out by young americans, has looked in the face of young americans, who have seen them suffer and
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die for this country. and i think that quality is if not unique extraordinarily part of the nominee before us. so again i think the president made a wise choice. senator inhofe's discussion about zero growth is an opportunity for a quote and let me quote. there is only one way safely and legitimately to reduce the course of national security and that is to reduce the need for it. and that is why we are trying to do a negotiation with the soviet union. we are not just discussing limits on the further increase of nuclear weapons. we seek instead to reduce the number. we seek the total elimination of one day of nuclear weapons on the face of the earth.
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president ronald reagan in his second inaugural address. the notion of global zero is not something unique. as signators to the nuclear disarmament treaty, national nonproliferation treaty, article 11 undertakes to commit at least to complete disarmament under strict and effective control. this is something the united states has embraced for have -- a very long time under presidents of both parties. as senator hagel pointed out, this is not unilateral disarmament. this is a long process of making sure we have the nuclear weapons in place to deal with appropriate challenges. some very different than the cold war. but the aspirations have been important. and been a bipartisan constant for decades. is that a rough summary of what you might agree to do, senator? >> yes, it is, senator. thank you. >> the other issue is there is
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several specific points raised with your record, and let me give you the opportunity to respond, if you will, to the questions that senator inhofe posed with respect to votes. if you have the list before you or -- >> what, sorry? >> senator inhofe posed several issues about 2007 vote, 2006 resolution with hezbollah, 2003 syrian sanctions, etc. you were prepared to comment. i think it's appropriate that you have an opportunity to comment if you want to do so now, i'd invite you to do so. >> i'd be glad to further comment for the record, because i have none of those specific votes in front of me, which i will, senator, listing every vote i took. i would say, though, included in those votes, which i do recall some of them, were a vote in 1998, a vote in 2000, a vote in 2006, specifically against iran, sanctioning companies, unilateral sanctions that in any way assisted iran's building their capability of nuclear weapons or rocket or missiles, i voted for those. i recall signing a letter,
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warner-levin letter in 2002 to the president of the united states regarding anti-semitism in russia. i wrote a letter to president clinton specifically in 1999 recommending to president clinton a number of stems that he'd take with president yeltsin regarding anti-semitism in russia. i remember specifically there were two unanimous consent resolutions in 2006 against hezbollah, against hamas, against syria and iran that we had unanimous consent, i supported on the floor of the senate. so there is a more complete record, senator, than just one
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or two or three or four, and those are some of them that i recall. as i noted in one of the responses back to senator inhofe, i didn't take any action on any vote, as i suspect every colleague here has the same way to approach votes, on this specific issue, on hezbollah, hamas, which i'm on the record many times designating and saying that hezbollah and hamas are terrorist organizations. i'm on the record many times in speeches and the floor of the senate and in the book i wrote in 2008 saying that iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. that is not new. that's in my record. but the way i approached every vote i ever took in the senate was based on what i thought could be most effective, what was at the time, what was the situation at the time, how could we do this smarter and better.
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i always believed the president of the united states is the elected leader of america. he has within his responsibilities, and i believe it's clearly articulated in article 2, to conduct foreign policy. i always thought the best way to deal with foreign leaders is let the president do that directly, for us to communicate with the president. i don't think there was a letter i recall signed to a president on these issues that i agreed with it that i didn't sign. so it was never a matter of differing objectives here. it was a matter of how best we
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could do it. i mentioned in 2008 the secretary of state didn't want one of those unilateral sanctions to go forward during the bush administration, wrote a letter. 2001, one of the issues that senator inhofe brought up. the bush administration was opposed to a five-year renewal of those. now, i'm not saying it's right or wrong. every one of the decisions i made, every vote i cast was based on at the time what i thought made the most sense. >> senator, you have clearly stated that you are supportive of the president's efforts to support the state of israel.
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and you have specifically said the iron dome. they have seldom seen or never seen the same level of military support to the state of israel that he's seen in the last several years, and you are i presume and hope fully prepared to carry out that same effort, that same level of support because the vital interests that we share with the state of israel.
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>> i am, and i have a record on that. in my book in 2008, interviews, speeches, i have always said i am a supporter of israel. in some cases, i've said i am a strong supporter of israel. in some cases, i've written and i think it's in my book that we have a special relationship with israel and we always have had. i have never voted against israel ever in the 12 years i was in the senate, whether was military authorizations or supplemental appropriations. the record is very clear on that. i might add as long as we're on this subject, and senator nelson may have a clearer view of this and see was just in jerusalem, and there have been a couple of recent statements made by the current israeli ambassador to the united states, the former israeli ambassador to the united states and now the deputy foreign minister to israel. they were fairly positive about me. all of the israeli leaders i have dealt with and met with, and i have been to israel many times -- the first two times i was in israel, i was in the u.s. though. we kept the haifa uso open. there was a lot of pressure to close uso's around the world. there was a lot of pressure to close the haifa uso's. a recent interview how strongly supported me and said specifically i was a strong friend of israel. the uso is now closed, but the
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than-director who lives in haifa said i was a strong supporter for israel. i think my record is clear. i support israel and continue to support the president's policies and i think he has been as strong a supporter of israel as may be any president since 1948, when harry truman helped give birth to israel. this president has been there -- as he said, have israel's back. $3.1 billion in assistance, almost 300 additional million dollars of the defense department for iron dome. i am a strong supporter of all of those programs and will continue to support them. >> thank you. >> before i call on that senator mccain, there's not a quorum present and i ask the committee to consider 952 military nominations. is there a motion to favorably report does? all in favor? opposed?
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the motion carries. thank you. senator mccain? >> thank you. i'm pleased to see an old friend here before the committee, especially pleased to see senator warner and senator nunn, two senators who have contributed greatly to the defense. these questions are not reasonable people disagreeing, these are fundamental disagreements. our concerns pertain to your final judgment and world view on areas of national security, including security in the middle east. with that in mind, let me begin with your opposition to the surge in iraq. 2006, republicans lost the election and we began the
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surge. he wrote a piece in the "washington post" -- leaving iraq honorably. he said it's not in the national interest for the u.s. to deepen its military involvement. in january 2007, in a rather bizarre exchange with secretary rice in the foreign relations committee after some nonsense about syria and crossing the border into iran and syria because of the surge, and a reference to cambodia in 1970, you said "when you set in motion the kind of policy the president is talking about here, it's very dangerous. i think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since the vietnam. if it is carried out, i will resist it." the question continued on for months and months talking about what a disaster the surge would be even when it was clear the surge was succeeding.
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in march 2008, you said "the term quagmires could apply. some reject that term, but if that is not a quagmire, what is? even as late as august 29, 2011, in an interview with the "financial times" -- you said i disagree with president obama and his decision to surge in iraq as i did with president obama. do you stand by those comments? >> senator, i stand by them because i made them. >> were you right? where you write in your assessment? >> i would defer to the judgment of history to sort that out. >> the committee deserves to know whether you are right or wrong about the search. >> i will explain why -- >> i want to know if you are right or wrong. it's a direct question. >> the surge assisted in the
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objective. >> will you please answer the question -- were you correct or incorrect when he said the surge would be the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since vietnam? were you correct or incorrect? >> my reference -- >> are you going to answer the question? were you right or wrong? that's a straightforward question. answer whether you are right or wrong and then you are free to elaborate.
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>> i'm not going to give you a yes or no answer. >> let the record show he refuses to answer the question. please go ahead. >> if you would like me to explain -- >> i would like an answer, yes or no. >> i'm not going to give you a yes or no. it's far more complicated than that. i will defer that judgment to history. as to the comment i made about the most dangerous foreign policy decision since vietnam, that was about not just the surge, but the overall war of choice going into iraq. that particular decision made on the surge, but more to the
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point, our war in iraq, i think was the most fundamentally bad, dangerous decision since vietnam. aside from the cost that occurred to blood and treasure, what that did to take our focus off of afghanistan, which in fact was the original and real focus of the national threat to this country, iraq was not, i always tried to frame all of the different issues before i made a decision on anything. we can have differences of opinion. but that is essentially why i took the position. >> a fundamental difference of opinion, senator hegel. senator gramm and i, senator lieberman, we spent our time trying to prevent that 60 of. thank god for senator lieberman. i think history has already made a judgment about the surgeon you are on the wrong side of it in
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your refusal to answer whether you were right or wrong about it is going to have an impact on my judgment as to whether to vote for your confirmation or not. i hope he will reconsider the fact he refused to answer a fundamental question about an issue that took the lives of thousands of young americans. >> senator, there is more to it than just -- >> i am asking about the surge. >> i know, and i am trying to explain my position. it factored what general allan had put into place, we put over 100,000 -- >> am very aware of the history of the surge and i am also aware any casual observer will know the surge was the fundamental factor led by two great leaders, general petraeus and ambassador crocker. >> i don't know if that would have been required and cost us over a thousand american lives. >> you don't know if the surge would have been required?
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let me go to syria now. more than 60,000 people have been killed in syria. do you believe we should be more engaged in syria? >> i know this administration is very engaged in working with its partners. >> you don't think we should do more? >> when you say do more -- >> do you think we should make sure the syrians get the weapons they need and perhaps established a no-fly zone? >> i believe part of our review is looking at those options. >> it has been 22 months. >> i wasn't there. i don't know the details, i'm not there now. the'm sure you've read in newspapers that 60,000 people have been killed and it is in danger of spilling over into neighboring countries.
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my question is how many more would have to die before you would support arming the resistance and establishing a no-fly zone? >> i don't think anyone questions the terrible tragedy occurring there every day. it's a matter of how best do we work our way through this so we can stop it to begin with. what comes next? >> did you disagree with president obama on his decision for the surge in afghanistan? >> i did not think we should get ourselves -- first of all, i have no original position -- >> you were recorded in 2007 saying i disagree on the decision to surge into afghanistan. >> that was my personal opinion, yes. >> thank you. >> senator nelson? >> since the issue of iraq has come up here, i want to state for the record and laid the predicate that this senator was one of many that voted for the authorization to go into iraq and, as it turns out, the lessons of history, we were given incorrect information as a justification for going into iraq. we were told by the secretary of defense, by the secretary of
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state, by the national security adviser, and the director of the cia that there were weapons of mass destruction in iraq. so for a lot of the decisions that were made at the outset, they were decisions that were informed with incorrect information. as the committee is judging senator hagel on that decision, i want to tell the committee what was the experience of this senator. what i would like to do with my time here is that since there are few of us in this room that served in the military during the vietnam era, and you clearly have that experience in combat. senator hagel -- by the way, a lot of people don't know anything about vietnam and don't know how difficult it was as senator warner has so eloquently stated in his comments, how the nation was divided. what i would like for you as the committee is getting to know you, know something about your service in vietnam and your combat experience. were you wounded, senator hagel?
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>> senator nelson, thank you. if i may, if i read into your question, some latitude in answering. i would respond this way -- i think my time is better served may be talking about these specific things like senator mccain asked me about and some others and maybe we've in some of my experience as to how i formed my judgment rather than going through a 12-month journal of my time in the jungles when my brother, and i were both wounded twice together. in 1968, when tom and i served here was the worst year we had. those who may not recall that year, we sent over 16,000 dead americans home. that is unfathomable in the world we live in today. 16,000 dead americans. i saw that from the bottom. i think chairman levin, in an accurate and appropriate quote for me and it certainly goes to senator mccain's question about the search. just as i said in my statement -- i have one fundamental question i asked myself on every vote i took in every decision made -- was a policy worthy of the men and women we were sending in to battle and surely to their deaths?
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in many cases, unfortunately tens of thousands of cases we are living with and these poor families are living with, wounded -- the results and the consequences.
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i know it's easy here, it is anywhere, if you don't have a connection to some of this to see these things a little differently. it doesn't mean i'm any better, senator, it doesn't mean i'm any smarter, it doesn't mean i'm any more appreciative of the service to our country. i saw it to the bottom and i saw what happens.
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i saw the consequences, the suffering, and horror of war. i did question the surge. it was not an aberration to me ever. i always ask the question is this going to be worth the sacrifice, because there will be
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sacrificed. in the surge in iraq, we lost almost 1200 dead americans and thousands of wounded. was it required? was it necessary? senator mccain has his own opinion on that, shared by others. i'm not sure. i'm not that certain it was required. it doesn't mean i'm right, it doesn't mean i made wrong vote, but that is what guides me when you ask me the question about my time in vietnam and was i wanted -- that was a very insignificant part of this. we were just doing our job, senator, as every military person knows that. some of this committee has a rather distinguished members that it served, starting with senator mccain and the sacrifices he has made to this country. but it does condition you. i am not shaped, frame, molded, consumed by that experience. of course not.
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but it is part of me. i tried to explain that in my opening statement. we are all shaped by those experiences. i hope that experience i have had is for the better and i hope if i have the privilege of serving as secretary of defense, it will put someone in charge at the pentagon -- not questioning past secretaries of defense, i can only speak for myself -- who understands the realities and consequences of war. it doesn't mean i'm better. i don't walk away from that. i acknowledge that. but it does not consume me. i don't see the lands of every world event and whether we should use american power through the lens of vietnam. but it is part of me and it is part of that lands. i think that is for the better and i think we need to be cautious with their power and lead to be wise with our power.
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we have great power, awesome power. no nation in the world is even in our league. we've done so much good with that power. i don't think there is a nation in history of man that has ever been as judicious and careful with its power as we have. and i want to make sure we continue to do that, as you all do. we will have differences on policies, but all i can do is my best based on my own experiences, as i said my statement, reaching out, listening, learning, never knowing enough, understand that circumstances change. >> thank you, senator. >> it's great to have you with us and have this hearing and opportunity to discuss important issues. i admire your service to your country and your combat experience is something we all
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honor and respect. i have been for the most part chairman, ranking member or member of the strategic subcommittee of this senate armed services committee for the time i've been in the senate. we came together, so i have some experience and knowledge about nuclear weapons and national security. i believe the secretary of defense should be the core, the rock solid person for the defense of america. i believe he should project an image of solidity and steadfastness the whole world and american people can depend on. i'm more than a little troubled by the report you participated in that calls for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and clearly suggests that is an achievable goal in a realistic time. certainly not immediately.
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their report writers issued an article defending you and the report that was just issued last year. they protest and say chalk hagel and global zero views are in the national interest and squarely in the mainstream. they insist you are in the mainstream because your position is that of president obama's. dramatically, they assert you are out of the mainstream if you believe otherwise. your report explicitly calls for "an urgent and transformational change in u.s. nuclear force structure, strategy and posture." exceedingly's an dramatic report, frankly. specifically, as to the historic nuclear force triad that has been our defense triad, it calls for bilaterally or unilaterally totally eliminating the icbm triad leg.
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the report refers to itself as a diad instead of a triad. you propose eliminating the 76 nuclear b-52 bombers entirely, leaving only 18 v to bombers, reducing nuclear submarines from 14 to 10. you favor eliminating all tactical nuclear weapons, de- alerting all the clear weapons,
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that means it would take a few days to place a weapon on alert. i agree that would be a transformational change in our nuclear force structure, strategy and posture. i think it's a big, historic thing. the present commander of the u.s. strategic command and the secretary of the air force do not agree with the recommendations in this report. they're people he will supervise. the general told the press last year that he does not support the former vice chairman, general cartwright, i do not think we are in the place he suggests now, nor do i see that particular place anytime soon.
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you will be supervising him. would you share with us where you are today on that issue? do you support the view of general taylor or do you support the commission report you signed? >> thank you, senator. first, let me correct some of your interpretation of what the global zero report was. and what it actually said. first, it did not propose or call for anything. it was in fact the word specifically used at the front end of that report was illustrative. proposing nothing, but laying out different scenarios and possibilities and schedules. but here is the key part to all of this. this is summarized in a letter to president obama in 2009. bilateral, never unilateral. nothing was suggested on a unilateral basis to take down our arsenal. verifiable.
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these are terms that were in the report. as senator nunn said in his opening statement and i have alluded to this -- the mainstream thinking of most presidents we've had the last 65 years, and i go back to ronald reagan's comment was a reduction of nuclear weapons for very obvious reasons. that is why we have engaged in treaties to reduce nuclear weapons. those were not unilateral arrangements, those were bilateral arrangements. the u.s. and russians have about 90% of the nuclear weapons in the world today. there are others to have them. there are nine nuclear powers, dangerous, the so-called loose nukes or non-state actors and terrorist groups getting all of
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these are threats -- >> it is not clear in your report. the report says on page one these steps should be taken with russia and negotiated in another round of bilateral arms reductions or implemented unilaterally. a less good approach would be to adopt this agenda he unilaterally. it suggests it would not be as good, but you would do so. there is another reference to that. it does call for these reductions in your conclusion. you say the united states should
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seek to achieve such reductions in 10 years and base its arsenal on a diad of nuclear delivery vehicles. it would consist of 10 trident submarines and 18 v to bombers. the normal conditions that one half of the warhead stockpile would be deployed on these carriers, the other half would be kept in reserves. all land-based intercontinental missiles armed with nuclear payloads would be retired along
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with carriers of non strategic nuclear warheads. all of which would be eliminated. tactical nuclear weapons, all of which would be eliminated from the stockpile. b-52 bombers would be completely dismantled or converted to carry only conventional weapons. i don't believe that is consistent with the policy as a country as a whole. i support of legislation to create a bipartisan commission several years ago to help us. senator levin and others supported. the house supported and it passed, to help us determine how much further we could continue to draw down our nuclear weapons. john glenn was on it, lee hamilton, james woolsey, they had access to the defense department secret documents and information and they came out with quite a different view. let me point out some of the things they came up with. they said maintain the triad.
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they said "maintained the triads." they said to maintain the weapons. they recommended no change in the alert status. in fact, this was with president obama and secretary gates, and they especially found it. i will give you a chance to respond. they said, quote, what may make
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possible the global elimination of nuclear weapons are not present today, and their creation would require a fundamental transformation in the world political order. close quote. that is a very strong statement, and there is this idea that is practical and realistic for us to expect that the world is going to move to zero nuclear weapons. so, first, i want to ask you one question that you told me in our meeting that i appreciated. president obama stated when we did the treaty discussions and voting, quote, "i intend to modernize or replace the triad of strategic nuclear systems, a heavy bomber, and a cruise
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missile, and icbm and nuclear power ballistic submarines." " decks. and he talked about the two buildings where our modernizations would take place and request full funding for those projects, so, first, let me ask you. would you support that vision and commitment to the president made? >> well, absolutely, i do. >> and then you can respond to what i am saying, but i really do feel that i am uneasy about his vision expressed in that committee report of yours. >> well, let me just briefly come back to what you said, senator, and i appreciate your giving me a chance to respond. first, my record has always been very clear. everything i voted on in my
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career in the senate. i have been a strong, agile, save, arsenal for the united states. that is not debatable. i believe that. you know the home of the strategic command is now in senator fisher's state, which used to be the state by represented. i used to be in that state as a senator. it has not changed. i know a little something about, not as much as you and others on the committee, but i have been to that facility many times. i know the general very well. and you know what the motto is. it is a pretty significant module. "piece is our business."
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-- "peace is our business." there is that strong, nuclear deterrent. this prospective secretary of defense would never do anything or in any way take any action that would minimize or harm or downgrade that reality. again, i go back to, not to get caught up in this report, this report was about the illustrative possibilities, always bilateral, always bilateral, just as we have always done in our treaties. i will stop there. that is a commitment i made to you and the president. my record is clear. >> well, thank you, and i would just say that the vision stated in your report i believe is
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going to create instability rather than confidence and stability, create uncertainty among our allies and i do not believe it will meet the goals that you said not to weaken our abilities. so i am troubled. i appreciate your comments today, but i am troubled. >> thank you very much, senator sessions. but >> thank you, mr. chairman. in the six years i have served in this committee, i have served under senator warner as a ranking member and senator mccain as a ranking republican member, and i have to tell you that there has never been a time that i did not sense that we all agreed that our work on behalf of our nation in terms of protecting our country and defending our country, that it was a bipartisan effort. i believe very strongly that
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this committee needs to be bipartisan, and i hope that the new ranking member holds the same regard for that as senator mccain and senator warner did, because at all times, i felt that they were respectful and were willing to listen to our disagreements, and i am hopeful about will continue, and i am optimistic that it will. i will ask some questions. if you need more time, just say so. do you believe that all options should be on the table when we confront in iran? >> absolutely. >> do you believe that iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and provide support to hezbollah and hamas. >> yes, and i am on the record many times saying that. >> do you support sanctions against iran? >> yes. >> do you believe that the
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united states should unilaterally eliminate its nuclear arsenal? >> no. >> do you agree with four national security leaders, including henry kissinger, san nunn, william perry, and george shultz, president reagan's secretary of state, when they said, and i quote, "the four of us have come together in a non- partisan effort, deeply committed to building support for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and to ultimately to end them as a threat to the world. we remain committed to working towards this vision and advancing the steps essential to achieve this goal." do you agree with those four bipartisan, national leaders in the area of national security and foreign policy? >> yes.
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>> i wanted to take some time to talk about some of the things we talked about in my office. what the defense department. i know you stayed with some of the advanced policy questions that you want to hold people accountable and profitability. i do not think most americans understand that as we face shrinking budgets and as we want to secure the pre-eminence of our military and not a hollow out the spending in the defense department, that walkability is a crucial agreement to us being able to find out if all of the money being spent there is being spent like americans would want it to be spent. can you reassure me that on its ability as prescribed by law -- that bought it -- what it -- auditability is a priority, that it would be an essential priority of your time as
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secretary of defense? >> as i told you, senator, i will make that commitment to this committee. >> and then turning to contract in. i have yet to have provided to me other than the numbers that we spent, any data that would indicate that major infrastructure rebuilding as part of a counterinsurgency strategy works. there are many things that work in a counterinsurgency strategy, and one of them as it was originally posed to me back some six years ago on this committee by general petraeus was the commander emergency response program, but walking around money to fix a plate glass windows in neighborhoods, that that was an essential part. that change into our military infrastructure projects. without really any data really to indicate that the billions
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of dollars that we were spending was, in fact, advancing our mission, our military mission. in addition to that, it is clear, if you want to look at iraq, and the failures that iraq represents in some ways, one of the failures is the crumbling investments that this country made in iraq. the health centers that never opened. the water parks that's it crumbling. the facilities that were blown up before they even had an opportunity to operate. i can go down billions of dollars of waste because we did not do the analysis on sustainability after we left. i am convinced that we have made the same mistakes in afghanistan, and i would like your response to this issue of major infrastructure building while we are in a conflict being conducted by our military, not by a i.d. or by the state department, -- not by a.i.d,
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analyzing whether or not there is data to support that aspect of the strategy. >> well, i will make that commitment, and it is part of a larger series of questions and factors always involved when a nation gets clearly committed, as we were and still are in afghanistan and were in iraq for eight years. when you are at war, the highest, first priority is to take care of your people, and as a result of that, all of the rest of the normal latitude and guidance, fury, policy is secondary, and so i think in
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both of those wars, because we got ourselves in so deep with so many people, and the welfare of our men and women was paramount, we tried a lot of things. we had never been this way before. we had never seen anything quite like these two situations, and as a result, as you know, our special inspector generals have come up with billions and billions and billions of dollars better run accounted for. corruption. fraud. waste. abuse. it really is quite astounding, but when you think about the universe of money that went in, no one should be surprised. now, how do we fix it? what do we do? to your point, how do we learn? how do we learn from this?
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we need to learn from this. it was not the fault of the military. of the military was asked to do everything. we overloaded circuits of our military korea we said, "you do it. you have got the structure. you have got the organization. you have got the people. so now go do it. so we put these young captain's in very difficult spot. they were given $100,000 in cash, essentially walking around money to take care of things and so on. it was not their fault. they were told to do this, what was part of the strategy. so i do not question necessarily any particular strategy or part of it, but i do think it is part of bill hall that you are talking about. i will take a look at this, and we will go deeper in this because we owe it to our people.
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we owe it to the people of this country who pay the bills, and for future, what did we learn for future challenges? >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. senator chambliss? >> thank you. again, congratulations on your nomination. as we talked the other day, you and i have been good friends since i came to the senate in 2002, sat next to each other for six years on the intel committee, and during that process, there were some things that i question, but we were always able to dialogue. there is our friendship, and i appreciate that. you were also introduced by two of my friends. i want to drill down, chuck, probably the number-one issue you will have to deal with assuming that you are confirmed,
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and that is the issue about our relationship with iran and where do we go in the future, short- term as well as long term. you wrote in your book, and i quote, "we blundered into iraq due to flawed judgments and ideologically driven motives. we must not repeat these errors with iran, and the best way to avoid that is to maintain an effective dialogue." you then go on to advocate again a direct and strategic, diplomatic relationship. i heard you in your opening comments say that your position on iran is prevention, not containment when it comes to their nuclear weapon is asian. i want you to expand on that, -- it comes to their nuclear weaponizeation.
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iran is the number-one terror sponsor in the world. i do not think there is any disagreement about that. i want you to expand on your position on a nuclear weaponized it -- iran, and it your position is true about prevention and not containment, chalk, what is the point? we know there are some things happening right now that are very serious, so how far do we go? do you still advocate direct negotiations with iran, it as you said, any made clear that all options were on the table, and you would say it again that military options is one of those. if you will, talk about that. we have never negotiated with a terrorist state. why do you feel that we ought to dialogue with them, even on this issue today? and lastly, what alterations, if
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any, do you think are necessary to our military force posture in the gulf region to deter iranian regional ambitions and support international diplomatic efforts to support -- to prevent iran from developing nuclear weapons capability. it is a broad statement on my part, a broader question, but this is the issue from the national security standpoint, chalk, and i would like you to be very specific. >> right. let's start with a very specific question on a vote. what is designated as the revolutionary guard as a terrorist organization. you recall because you were there that there were 22 senators voting against it. the effort against it, the main point made came from senator jim webb, and his point was we have
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never ever designated it a part of a legitimate government state, and i say legitimate, it does not mean that we agreed iran, but it is a member of the united nations. almost all of our allies have embassies in iran, so that is what i note an elected, legitimate government, whether we agree or not. designated them or made them part of a terrorist organization. we have never done that, so you say, so what? what is the big problem? the problem was that least 22 of us believed, both republicans and democrats, by the way, in that vote. it was jim webb on the floor, he said if you do that, that is
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tantamount to giving the president of the united states the authority to use military force against iran without having to come back to get a resolution from or partner with or cooperate with the congress of the united states. essentially, if we vote for this, we are giving the president in a sense that authority. we can agree or disagree with that, but i listened to that debate, and there were some pretty thoughtful debates, and that debate i thought was pretty powerful with me. we were already in two wars at the time, and i thought that this made sense, and so i voted against it. that is why i voted against it. you might also remember that
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the, secretary of state john kerry voted against it, and then senator obama gave speeches against it. vice-president biden voted against it. dick lugar voted against it. there were some other republicans. as to the iranian red line, persian gulf, some of the iranian questions you asked, i support the president's strong position of containment, as i said, and i will speak more specifically to a couple of the examples used from my book. but his position i think is right, and when you ask the question about red line, red line, i think the president has gone as far as he can go
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publicly on that, and he said clearly that in his words, he has israel's back. he said his policy is not to allow the iranians to get a nuclear weapon. what constitutes when the action would be taken? i think that is always something that should not be discussed publicly or debated publicly or out in the public domain. your quotations from my book, which you acknowledge as well, and i always say military options should be on the table, and i had said that consistently, as well as engaging with iran. i have always thought it is far smarter to approach these very serious threats, including iran, who is probably as significant a threat as we have out there
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today, although north korea is beyond a threat. it is a real nuclear power and quite unpredictable. i think pakistan is another very complicated reality, but staying on iran, i think we are far smarter to do what the president is doing, and i lay out in my book -- i have two chapters on iraq and a chapter on the middle east. getting the world community behind us with the u.n.- sanctioned sanctions through the security council of the united nations. these are tough sanctions. they are having a tremendous impact. you know that. on iran. if, in fact, the military option is the only one required -- i think we are always on higher ground in every way. national law, domestic law, people in the world, people in the region to be with us on this
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if we have tried and have gone through every possibility to resolve this in a responsible, a peaceful way, rather than going to war. everything i said in my book was about that. i do not have a problem with engagement pre-empt i think great powers engaged. it is clearly in our interest. that is not negotiation. engagement is not surrender. i think if the time is right, the climate is right, the dynamics are right, we should find the ways, if we can find ways. we cannot force it, but i think we are smarter and wiser to take that approach initially. posture in the persian gulf. as you know, senator, our fifth fleet is located in the persian gulf, bahrain, and as you also know, we have a couple of
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carrier battle groups in that area. our military posture in there is a very strong. it is very ready. it is very capable. these are contingencies and options that the secretary of defense, working with his cheeks, and the combat commanders always have to give with the president to make sure we are prepared, so let me stop there, and i may have missed some of the specific things you want to discuss. >> i am understating you saying you are not ready to discuss red lines and a specific way. am i hearing that right? >> i do not think that is my role now, to start with, as i am not the secretary of defense, but i think the president is wise in his course of action in not discussing that publicly. i think it is a far smarter way of handling it, and i think he has said what he needs to say.
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i think it has been understood in iran. i think the world understands his position. by the way, i have just been handed a note that i misspoke and said i supported the president's position on containment. if i said that, i meant to say that obviously we do not have a position on containment. i recognize the idea that more attention paid to my words and the last eight weeks than i ever thought possible, so i do not take any chances. thank you. >> i think i understood you correctly on containment. >> just to make sure your correction is clear, we do have a position on containment, which is we do not favor containment. >> we do not favor containment, so that is the president's position in my position. >> clarify be clarified. >> if you need further, i am
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here. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, senator. >> good morning, senator hagel. thank you for once again heeding the call to lead the department of defense. we had a great private meeting last week. we covered many of the threats and challenges that our country faces, shrinking budgets, strategic national charity -- security ships, and we continue to provide fair and equal opportunities for all of our service members and their families. i want to tell you i appreciate that opportunity, and i will take you up on that offer, if you are confirmed, to sit down with you with the armed services committee. i know this issue has already been addressed, but i want to make sure i am on the record as to raising my concerns, and this committee should give every opportunity to underline your
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point of view. when we met, you emphasized your determination to keep all options on the table with regard to iran, including a military strike if iran continues to pursue a program of defiance of its international obligations. you also discussed your longstanding support of israel and your longstanding relationship, but you have critics out there, i do not have to tell you that, who maintain that your record on iran is in question and that you are anti- israel. these are serious charges, so let me direct some questions your way. why should americans trust that you would consider every option when it comes to one of the most serious national security threats facing us today, which is iran? >> well, first, thank you for an opportunity to clarify these issues. my record has been very clear on iran. senator chambliss noted from my
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2008 book, a chapter, specifically noting that i said the military option must remain on the table. i said that as recently as an op-ed that i've co-authored last june and the washington post with two former said, commanders -- centcom demanders. one of the things we brought out is that the military option must remain on the table along with the other areas of effort and expertise and diplomacy and economics and sanctions that the president is using, which i have already said i support, so my record is pretty thorough on this, and i will continue to support that position, and i strongly support the president's position. >> senator, talk about a your view on israel, our relationship with israel. how can we continue to have a special alliance with a country
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with whom we share more than an economic or political philosophy but with eight broader moral connection that we have with israel? >> well, i have said many times, just as i am said in regards to the military option with iran, many times in my book, speeches on the floor, he interviews i have given, i am a strong supporter of israel. i will continue to be. i am also said, and i believe this is in my book, that we have a special relationship with israel, so, again, my record is pretty clear. i voted for 12 years in the senate for every authorization, every appropriation that i had an opportunity to vote on for israel. i have been to israel many times and have met with their leaders many times. so, again, if you look at my
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record, i think my record is pretty clear in my strong support for israel. >> senator, i've heard you say when you discussed your vote against the resolution applying to the iranian revolutionary guards that in the end, you were protecting congress broadly when it comes to declaring war. is that correct? >> that is exactly it. that is exactly what i was saying, and i guess i did not say it that way, but that was the point, and again i say like an answering the other questions, it was not a question of the objective, and i shared the objectives, and i suspect all 22 members who voted against that resolution supported the objective, but as jim webb made the case, i think, pretty effectively, and senator webb was an individual who had a rather considerable experience -- he had been secretary of navy
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under ronald reagan. he had been assistant secretary of defense under ronald reagan. he was one of the most decorated veterans of vietnam, a united states senator, a celebrated author and lawyer. i thought he made a strong persuasive case, as did many of us. >> let's turn to cybersecurity. i was pleased you mentioned cybersecurity in your initial remarks. the pentagon's move to significantly expand its cybersecurity assets and knowledge, i have to talk about colorado, since i represent them. the air force academy is well- positioned to train those cyber security experts. we are also a command point. when you talk more about your take on cybersecurity, what we need to be doing, what types of resources we made. >> as you know, i have been to those facilities in colorado a few times and to know as much
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about it as you do, but i am pretty familiar with it. they are essential to our national security. cyber, i believe, represents as big a threat to the security of this country as any one specific threat. for all of the reasons that this committee understands. it is an insidious, quiet kind of a threat that we have never seen before. it can paralyze a nation. not just a power grid or a banking system, but it can knock out satellites. it can take down computers on all of our battleships. it can do tremendous damage to our national security apparatus. that is the larger threat, but when you start defining it down, this body, i know, i watched it. we went through a pre-agonizing
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three months at the end of 2012 trying to find a bill that they could agree on on cyber. i know, or i believe, that the congress will come back in this new congress. i think he must, and you know that, because we have got different and it -- intergovernmental authorizations here. the dod. where is the capacity? where are the budgets? where are the authorities? this is law enforcement. this is privacy, business, a lot of complications that we have never ever had to face before. the other national defense reps do this country. so cyber will be an area that we will continue to focus on. we must. it is an area i will put a high priority on if i am confirmed to be secretary of defense. >> senator, the 2013 -- there is a provision that compels the
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military to accommodate the conscious moral principles and religious beliefs of all members of the armed forces. this seems reasonable on the surface, but i am especially concerned this could lead to misguided claims as a right to discriminate against lesbians or gays or bisexuals or some with other beliefs. the president has said that they will not permit or condone discriminatory actions that compromise good order or discipline, or otherwise affect the military code of conduct. would you assure that the department of defense, in accommodating religious beliefs or matters of conscience, does not tolerate discrimination in regards to others? >> absolutely. i will faithfully, diligently enforce our laws. all men and women deserve the same rights, and i can assure
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you that will be a high priority. i will assure that in every way through the entire chain of command and accountability. >> thank you, senator riegle. i look forward to the second round of questions. it is now the afternoon, and it is a good afternoon. >> thank you, senator. senator? >> let me follow up on that. does that mean a chaplain would have to perform a same-sex marriage, if he objected based on conscience? >> i think the pentagon regulations show, senator, that same-sex marriage it is legal in nine states. >> no, with a chaplain be able to bounce out of that procedure based on conscience? >> certainly. what we do not want though, senator, the point is someone to be denied to be married.
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in a chapel for a facility and so on, but, certainly, as a matter of conscience. what i am talking about is a strict interpretation of defending the law, which defends rights. >> thank you very much for clarifying that, and thank you for calling me early on. we had our conversation on january 8, and i appreciated that opportunity. you just said that your statements over time have gotten a lot more attention than you ever dreamed possible, and i hope you agree that is entirely appropriate in this context. chairman 11 -- the chairman mention that in speaking your mind, you had said several things that had caused him concern. senator in off -- another senator mention what some people feel our policy reversals based
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on expedience's, so those are concerns. you and i talked about two of these topics during our conversation, and one of them was with regard to sanctions against iran. you told me in our conversation that you opposed unilateral sanctions because they do not work, they isolate the united states. you had made that statement to the omaha paper just the day before. you have not supported unilateral sanctions because when it is bus alone, they do not work, and they just isolate the united states, in the omaha paper. i have to say that that statement seems to be in direct contradiction to your letter to senator boxer one week later.
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when you told her, and i quote, "i agree with iran's continued rejection of diplomatic overtures, further sanctions, both multilateral and unilateral may be necessary." now, one week before that, you said that you have opposed them because they do not work. another senator said that he disagrees with that. he says they do work. you gave him an answer to that statement, and we have it on the record, but let me just suggest to you, senator, if words have meaning, there is no two ways about it. the statement you gave in the, paper that you gave to me the following day is substantially and substantively different from what you wrote to senator boxer one week later.
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the office of secretary of defense is one of the most powerful positions in the country and arguably in the world, and this official, the weber who he or she is must leave with clarity and precision, and people around the world need to rely on the clear meaning of the words of the secretary of defense. the other thing we discussed that gave me concern during our conversation on january 8 was your statement about the jewish lobby. and you told me that you have apologized for using that, and you retracted the use of the term the jewish lobby. what you said is that the jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. this was in an interview you gave. you said, "i have always argued
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against some of the things because i do not think it is in the interest of israel." here is my problem at this point. you have corrected the term "jewish lobby." and i think the correct term now would be the israel lobby or the israeli lobby. do you stand by the idea that they succeed in this town because of intimidation? and that it amounts to causing us to do dumb things, because i want to say this, senator. you are here today as a potential secretary of defense, and it would seem to me that however you characterize them, you have suggested that there is any effective lobby out there,
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whether you call them the jewish lobby or the israel lobby or the israeli lobby, and that they succeed in doing dumb things through intimidation and that u.s. policy has been the wrong approach because the intimidation has worked, so when you talk about the jewish lobby, were you talking about a pack? were you talking about christians united? and do you still believe that their success in this town is because of intimidation and because they are, as you stated, urging upon our government that we do dumb things? >> well, first, i never been accused of political expediency. i do not do that. it has probably gotten me into some trouble, senator. second, addressing the last
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comment, and then going back to sanctions, i have already said i regret referencing the jewish lobby. i should have said the pro- israel lobby. i think that is the only time on the record that i never said that. now, you all have done a lot of work with my record, and yes, it is appropriate for any nominee on the record, what he or she thinks and has done, absolutely. i was on your side of the dais for 12 years, so i understand that and that responsibility, so i do not have any problem with that. so i have already noted that i should have used another term. i am sorry, and i regret it. the use of intimidation. i should have used "influence." i think that would have been
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more appropriate. we were talking about in that book, you have evidently read it, and, by the way, it is a book -- to the promised land, he has spoken out directly recently about my position because it has gotten some attention, as you have noted, and has been quite favorable to me and said much of that was taken out of context, and he was offended, and those were his words. those of you know something about him know that he is jewish. he is a highly respected individual who has counseled pencil -- counseled presidents and secretary of states. in that fairly short interview, he mentioned that i am a strong supporter of israel. that is in the interview. so i think that says something.
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i should not have said, or stupid. -- said dumb or stupid, because i appreciate there are differing views on these things. we were talking about the middle east. we were not talking about armenia or turkey or the banking influence or the chamber of commerce influence. that was the context of what my comments were about. on your point on the unilateral sanctions conversation and the quote, a couple of points. let's go back to the vote. about the regional vote during the clinton administration, and
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connect that to a comment i made in the world harrold above they do not work, they are ineffective. and, by the wycombe i have already noted for the record that i am supported and voted for unilateral sanctions. i think there are three specific ones i recall, but your specific question about this specific comment, just to give you an example of partly what i was talking about, you were not in the senate at the time, some work, but those that were here in the senate might recall the european union's reaction to that act. i was not in the senate when it was voted on originally, so i did not have a vote, but in 1998, the european union passed a resolution against the united states and threatened to take the united states to the world trade organization. as a consequence, secretary
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albright had to get into this, and as a consequence of that, president clinton had to sign a waiver to allow a french oil company not to be part of that u.s. unilateral waiver. now, i am not suggesting united states actions should be hostage to the european union or any other country, but what i am suggesting is many times there are consequences do these actions. now, every senator has their own position on these and exercises their own judgment, as they should, and cast their own vote, so i do not necessarily that there was a disconnect from what i said in the world harold to where i have been on international subjects. as your specific point about supporting unilateral sanctions as well as international sanctions, a letter with senator
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boxer, it is a different situation. we already have very effective international sanctions on iran. >> are you saying those two statements do not contradict each other? the one to the, paper and the one to senator boxer? >> there are two points, and that me finish, if i could, senator, thank you, for my second point. the second point is where we are today, international sanctions that have been placed on iran, that puts iran and united states in a far different place than where we were in 2000 or 1998 or 2001, when i did not support the reimposition -- and by the way, the bush administration did not either. they did not want a five-year ban reimposition. some of the things i questions
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that. but my point in making where we are today, connecting at to unilateral sanctions, then we have got a different situation. unilateral sanctions, because we have already got strong international sanctions, it should be considered. i think the president is right to consider those. i would support that. it is different than what it was back in 2000 or 1998. >> thank you, senator. senator? >> thank you. senator hagel, thank you for being here. thank you for your service to the country in the military and your service in the u.s. senate, and i also want to thank your wife and your family for standing with you today. you played an important role in supporting vietnam veterans impacted by the exposure to agent orange, but i a been involved in a similar set of issues facing veterans stationed
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at camp lejeune, and they continue to look into the effects of water contamination there. as many as 1 million marines and their families stationed at the base between the early 1950's and the 1980's may have been exposed to harmful chemicals that could have lead to cancer and other elements. looking into this has been long. it has been drawn out, and recognition that men, women, and children were dying or going broke paying out of pocket for their treatment while they're waiting for these various studies to be completed on the water contamination. we in congress took action last year. the house and senate passed a bill that would provide for the treatment of veterans and their family members through the v.a., but i continue to believe that the families of those stationed at camp lejeune during this time period, they deserve answers from the u.s. government about who was exposed to the harmful chemicals, about what type of impact that may have had on
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their health, and what the government knew about this exposure, and i up and fighting for answers with a group of other committed senators on a bipartisan basis, and along the way, progress has been slowed by endless bureaucratic delays and obstacles. my question to you is do you agree that these marines and their families deserve complete answers about the water contamination that occurred at camp lejeune, and if confirmed, do you pledge to work with us to overcome any bureaucratic hurdles that may halt or delay the pursuit of answers for the affected marines and their family members? >> well, thank you. you noted that we had a long conversation about this. i committed to you in your office, and i will make that commitment in front of this audience. there should never, ever be a question about the health and the safety and the environment that we put our men and women and their families and when we
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ask them to make sacrifices to serve this country, and i am committed to do that. we will have further conversations. >> thank you, senator. i know u.s. answered a number of questions about israel already today, but i do have one i want to ask you also. there is a special and historic bond between the u.s. and israel, and i am personally committed to israel's security and identity as a jewish state. when we met earlier this week, i was pleased to hear you agree and that you support a two-state solution and oppose any unilateral declaration of a palestinian state. we also discussed the need for a strong military and intelligence engagement between the u.s. and israel. just last fall, i was in israel, and i have spoken with senior military officials from both countries, and i have continually heard that the ties between our military and intelligence organizations have
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never been stronger. if confirmed, do you intend to maintain its close relationship, and do you any ideas as to how we can further strengthen this coordination? >> well, i would, once again, reaffirm the commitment that i made to you to this committee. i absolutely support the continuation and strengthening of our relationship with israel, as has been noted before in my book. in the chapter i have on israel, i talk about the special and historic relationship between the united states and israel. it is critically important that the qualitative military edge that we have assured israel since 1948 be maintained and be enhanced. the iron dome is i think but one example.
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the latest military exercise we had with the israelis last fall, the challenge, it was the largest military exercises between our two countries in the history of our two countries. i think our intelligence agencies are working closely and are stronger and more coordinated than ever before. i think this president has done as much to support israel as any president, as i mentioned earlier, since harry truman, and i will look forward to continuing to follow those policies and enhance those policies. >> thank you. i wanted to ask a question on sequestration. stopping sequestration from occurring is very important to me. north carolina, we have seven military installations, and we have over 100,000 active-duty
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service members in my state, and i believe that these cuts are going to harm our national security, will impair our readiness, will defer necessary maintenance that will help keep our troops sake, that delay important investments in research and procurement as well as stunt our economic recovery at this time. i do not believe we can allow these cuts to move forward. congress needs to work on a bipartisan basis on a bipartisan plan that will help eliminate this threat of sequestration. also, we have to reduce our deficit and protect the investments in the areas of national defense. when we spoke earlier, i was pleased to hear that you did not support these indiscriminate, on prioritized cuts that sequestration would cause. if allowed to take effect, how would sequestration impact the department's ability to meet the future threats and challenges could as i've shared with you,
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highchair the subcommittee of this committee on emerging threats and capabilities, so i am particularly interested on your thoughts. you were commenting earlier to a senators' questions on cybersecurity issues. obviously being considered in the emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee. my question is, what impact do you believe that these cuts would have on our service members and their families at home and abroad, and in particular, the cuts with the sequestration, how would this impact areas such as cybersecurity and the other areas? >> well, first, as we have said this morning, you know the chiefs have made very clear, secretary panetta, there will be consequences, significant consequences, to the management of our defense department and our ability to have the flexibility to make the decisions, not just for the
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immediate but for the future. when you hang in that kind of uncertainty over any institution, but especially the institution charged with national security in our country, it is very dangerous. readiness is obviously the number one priority, and we will continue to do that. the chiefs have already decided to work through this, and i think in some of the public statements they have made, we are preparing for that. they will be prepared in the event sequestration does take effect. we will be ready to deal with it. but this is going to be very difficult, and we talked a little earlier here this morning about how we were going to have to reduce training, flying time, but i think the american people do need to be reassured, as i said, as secretary panetta and the chiefs have, the security of this
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country will not be in jeopardy, but it will be difficult. and it will affect longer-term kinds of planet, but make no mistake. if this happens, this is going to be a severe problem. >> my time is up. thank you for your comments. >> senator, thank you so much. we are going to work right 3 vote that is going on, but we will take a 10-minute recess right now and come right back, and then we are going to call on the two senators who are next in line, and i urge them to go vote and come back, so we will now resort -- recess for 10 minutes. [gavel] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> chuck hagel's confirmation hearing to be secretary took a break here, so we will take this opportunity to get your reaction to what you have heard so far and then go to the rest of the hearing. our phone numbers are open. democrats, please call 202-585- 385. republicans, please call 202- 585-3886. others, please call 202-585- 3887. a call from virginia, hi, wayne. what caught your attention in the hearing? >> i am a republican who worked with chalk in the 1980 reagan campaign, -- who worked with chuck, and i support him.
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he is an iconoclast, and he is somewhat of a contrarian, and that comes out of his vietnam experience, where he was a grunt, fighting in the blood and mark of vietnam, and he would compare what he saw with what the optimistic reports were coming out of the white house and be administration and the defense department. the light at the end of the tunnel, and victory was right around the corner, and yet 50,000 boys died, and chuck formed a lot of his thinking, just as he was arguing with senator mccain, who i have also known for over 30 years. >> what does he have that would make him a great secretary? >> the best thing he has -- look, he is a conservative, but he has critical thinking. you do not always agree with
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chuck, but he does critical thinking, and he does not do this ideologically. i have known him 33 years, and this is the way he is. i support the guy. he is an honest, salas, a another call from suzanne. >> another call from suzanne. what did you see in the hearing. -- hearing? >> what upset me is i think there was a lack of respect on the part of the republicans. i understand the importance of the position. i think chuck hagel, as ever -- from everything i have read about him, i like his way of thinking. he is not ideological. the fact that he is not ready to
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put all armed forces in harm's way without clear thinking. >> thank you for your input. our next call is from adam. go ahead. are you there? our next call is john from pennsylvania. what do you think? >> i watched them grow chuck hagel. he feels like a super good person. i am afraid the united states
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will move and this is what scares me. afghanistan was a mistake. they are not going to grow corn and tomatoes. i have watched these hearings for three days. it seems to be a waste of time. website andpan's watched the interview conducted
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with senator hagel. that was an excellent interview. >> what you think about chuck hagel as defense secretary? are you for or against him. >> i am thrilled. it is wise to put someone in the position who has volunteered to be in a war. he has straddle in his body from serving in vietnam. he had saved other people's lives. he is not going to be one who will be what the neo's want. he is very serious. i think before he puts charge of
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our young soldiers into a war, it would have to be proven to him it is the very last thing, that we had tried everything else. >> sorry to cut you off. "the new york times" writes that the senator from california was one of the most hostile.
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>>now, let's talk about statements you made. you have explained this a bit. you said the jewish lobby bullies a lot of people up here. i am not an israeli senator. i am a united states senator. this pressure makes us to do dumb things at times. you said "jewish lobby" should not have been used. name one person in your opinion who is intimidated by the israeli lobby in united states senate? >> well, first -- >> name one. >> i do not know. >> why would you say that? >> i did not have in mind a specific person. >> do you agreed that it is a provocative statement, that i could not think of a more provocative statement about the united states, israel, and congress? name one dumb thing we have been bullied into doing because of or pressured into doing because of the jewish lobby?
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>> i stated i have regretted that term -- >> you stated back then it makes us do dumb things. give me one example of the dumb things that we are pressure to do up here. >> we were talking in that interview about the middle east, about positions, about israel. >> give me an example of where we have been intimidated by the israeli jewish lobby to do something dumb regarding the middle east, israel, or anywhere else. >> i cannot give you an example. >> do you agree you should not have said that? >> i agree. >> do you agree with hezbollah being a terrorist organization? >> yes. >> burnie is from omaha. go ahead. >> i have been watching it and i will take the position of supporting the senator hagel on the basis that the things he said in the past, granted, as a trooper on the ground, he understood even back in vietnam, i believe, being around at that time, having served myself, but not in vietnam. a number of my friends have. he can use a certain way of
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expressing from the very plains of nebraska that candy construed to be in a different direction, such as talking about the lobby. i will give him a pass on that and say he will be the man for the job and he will do the job correctly, and in terms of support of israel, my view in israel, back in the nixon time, i believe he supports israel 100%, as i do, in that even a unilateral judgments by israel, i would support any way, such as the bombings of those missiles. >> we do want to get to more calls. our next one is from buffalo,
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new york. a republican. you have the floor. >> thank you. good evening. i would like to say i am a united states army veteran. given my military expertise and professional background, i would have liked to see the senators asked the question in hagel's position. when has political and diplomatic approaches translated into long-term, sustainable, positive behavioral change? it underlies -- underwrites his idea that a focus toward i ran will be a pretext of further engaging calculated aggression. i do not think they had enough time --
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>> the democratic column. go ahead. i am sorry. republican from kentucky. another time, we will try the tampa, florida col. are you there? >> yes. he should not be nominated. in 2002, he says there were weapons of mass destruction.
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he said america will win. i want to know how he is qualified when he is so wrong. >> we appreciate all of your calls. the armed services committee will hold a nomination early next week. six republican senators, including four on the senate services committee. we will mention you will have another chance to comment on the nomination on washington gerald ma morning, at 8:30. here is more about the conference today.
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>> you could sense the animosity between the two. at times it was not personal. -- >> there were a lot of exchanges. >> he had to be prepared for this. >> he has spent a long time preparing and looking at what statements he should make in terms of the various questions that might be put to him. there were times he did not seem why seem so sure footed.
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host: as you look at this hearing, what happens next? guest: the committee will look to have a vote to see if they can pass it to the full senate. senator carl levin, the chairman, told reporters that that could happen as early as next thursday. there has not been a schedule for that, so it depends on senator hagel possibility to put forward a response to questions that he has been asked about. host: a lot of reaction to the questioning by senator lindsey graham and senator ted cruz of texas, a new member of this committee, a freshman senator from the lone star state. what was your take on their questioning? guest: very aggressive. lindsey graham has not come out and said he is going to oppose chuck hagel. based on the posturing today, it seems hard to believe that lindsey graham could support him. ted cruz is a relatively -- a brand-new member of the senate, and he is going through one of his first confirmation proceedings. he took no prisoners today through rounds of questioning using video and slides to question hagel and his record.
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guest: we're talking with tim mak. has anyone on the democratic side come out in opposition? guest: no, no single democratic senator has come out. host: lindsay graham said he would possibly put a hold on the nomination . who is yet to testify? guest: they have not figured that out yet. we note there should be a hearing on benghazi next week. this is all touch and go. they have not figured out what is going to happen next week. >> we will pick up chuck hagel's confirmation hearing with another three hours and 45 minutes left of questioning.
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>> you will come back to order. senator? >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to thank you, senator hagel for your service to our country and for being here today that the hearing, and i want to thank your family as well. senator hagel, i think we established from the prior questions you have been asked. in july of 2001 you were one of only two senators to vote against extending the iran sanctions in that act. yes or no? >> yes. >> and that was when you were only one of two senators in the entire senate to vote against that. also in 2008 i believe you were one of two senators within the senate banking committee, not the entire senate, to vote against a comprehensive iran sanctions accountability act in 2008. is that right? >> yes. >> yes. thank you, senator. as i understand it on october 2, 2008, majority leader harry reid brought a similar bill to the floor.
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in fact, it was called the comprehensive iran sanctions accountability act of 2008. and he brought it to the floor in october 2, 2008. there have been media reports that you blocked unanimous consent for the consideration of that bill. are those reports true or not? >> i was one of some republican senators that did not want that vote to go forward. i voted against it in subcommittee. and the reason i did was because the bush administration did not want that bill to go forward. the reason they didn't was because they were involved in negotiations with the russians and the u.n. and security council members to put multilateral sanctions through. >> but just to be clear you did block unanimous contestant.
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>> i was -- con sent in >> i was part of those who did. >> would it surprise you that an earlier version of those sanctions bill was actually co- sponsored bicek taxpayer cary and clinton and obama at the time? would that surprise you? >> no. not necessarily. i never based my votes on what everybody else thought or did. i voted based on what i thought was right. >> also, we of course, the
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sanctions that are in place now, that bill or its next generation, passed the united states senate after you left in a vote of 99-0. and no one in the senate in fact voted against that. so that is then our clear policy of the bill really the next generation of the bill that you blocked in the senate. i want to ask you also about your position with respect to involvement in the global -- i know many people have asked you questions about this. here's what's troubling me. you've testified before this committee today that you've never been for unilateral -- unilateral nuclear disarmament. in other words, unilateral sanctions by the united states of america. yet this report itself, which you call an illustration, its
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illustration or recommendation or however you want to frame it, is to -- there are many recommendations and one is to eliminate a leg of our triad. you would maintain that is right? >> i call it an illustration, senator, because that's the term it used. at the front end of the report. it's not a recommendation well, let me talk about the other terms this report uses. because this report twice as senator sessions asked you on page one and on page 16 says that the illustrations were this example give engine this report, one of which is eliminating a leg of our nuclear triad could be implemented unilaterally. so here's what i'm struggling with. why would you put your name on a report that's inconsistent with what you said was that you could never be against it.
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>> the report does not recommend that we do these things. the report says "could." scenarios. possibilities. and you probably know the four other individuals who were involved in that report. mainly general cartwright the strategic commander. >> and senator hagel i know we don't have a lot of time here and i don't dispute the other individuals involved in this report, but of all the illustrations and coulds you could have picked, this report says the president could implement these unilaterally but it's inconsistent to what you say is your position yet you sign off on this and of all the illustrations you could have picked the illustration is eliminating a leg of our nuclear triad.
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so one thing that troubles me is of all the things that this group should or could have picked as what you called an illustration is an significant reduction in our nuclear deterrent. so to me i view that as troubling and inconsistent. and one thing i would hope you wouldn't do as secretary of defense is to put -- to sign off on a report that would say something like unilateral like this one does that could be implemented unilaterally that could be different from your policy or our policy. >> as secretary of defense i won't be signing off on reports in the same way as a private
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citizen, obviously. i will have a different kind of responsibility if i am confirmed by the senate. but i don't think that there's anything that also changes my position in that report, because it was a letter sent which you may have to the president of the united states. >> just so we're clear, and i don't want to interrupt you but we don't have a lot of time. just so we're clear, you don't view what you're telling us today and the language in this report as inconsistent? >> i do not. the report also says and the authors of it says and have always said, none of this could be any reductions unilateral just like any unilateral treaty we have signed both republicans and democrats have led on that.
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has to be verifyible and negotiated. i've always been there. and that's where we have been on this report. >> ok. thank you. may i follow up on this discussion about containment, nuclear containment with iran? >> mm-hmm. >> and there seemed to be -- first question i would have as you said clearly to senator levin that you believe that a military option should be on the table with respect to iran.
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in fact i think you said i do, i have and i strongly agree in terms of that being one of the options the president of the united states would have in addressing iran. is the language that you said. can you help me understand in when you went to islamabad, pakistan, in 2006, you said at that time a military strike against iran, a military option is not a viable, feasible or responsible option.
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now it seems what you're saying about the military option now seems inconsistent and why would you make that statement in pakistan that it's not a viable, feasible or responsible option in light of your statement today that you do, i have, and i stockly agree that a military option should be on the table. >> that statement was made in respect to all options with iran. and pakistan was where i was at the time.
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and the larger context of that was nuclear powers which certainly pakistan is part of that. and not unlike what secretary gates said on a strike on iran. my point was that this would not be a preferable option land the would be consequences to this option. things would happen as a result of it. if we could find a better option or way to deal with iran to assure they do not get nuclear weapons, then we are far better off. that was the context of that statement.
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>> i know my time is up and we will have an opportunity for a second round of questions, but as i see your quote it didn't say preferable it said it was not a preferable option so i look forward to following up in the second round of questioning. thank you. >> thank you senator ayotte. senator mansion? >> thank you so much senator hagel for your services and your family for your services. i'd like to say this. you and i have not known each other before. ofe never had the pleasure serving with you, which i wish i woufment you bring truly a breath of fresh air to this process in a bipartisan way having two senators serve by your side, one democrat and one republican speaks volumes.
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with that being said also everyone's been so fix ated on your past, what you've said, and i've come to learn in a very short time being a start that this town and process and body has become almost a guilt by conversation. with that being said, i respect you being the person in saying what you thought needed to be said. you voted the way you thought you should be voting for your constituents and country and weren't driven by your party or groups. i can't tell you how much i wish i would serve with you. sometimes i feel very lonely. with all that being said, sir, we're asked to consider you as a part of a cabinet. is there anything that would lead us to believe that you
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wouldn't follow the orders that were given? >> no. i understand clearly the responsibilities of secretary of defense. and as i said in my opening statement, those responsibilities are very serious. i don't know of many jobs that are more serious. and i would obviously, always make every decision for the defense department and my advice to the president based on only one thing, and that's the security of this country. >>i look back at your record. we come from the same area and are very close in age.
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and i remember the vietnam era very well. that, i think shaped all of us to a certain extent of how we looked after -- post vietnam -- of how we looked at if we had known what we knew before. i am sure that kind of guided you as you looked at the -- iraq. and i saw information we were given. if i had been a senator i probably would have voted also like many misled but after seeing five or six years of that unimportant to scenario play out, the surge and i know where you're coming from. would you say your experiences in vietnam and looking at that
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basically what sometimes misguided our misguided mission had been -- shaped a lot of your positions today? >> well, there's no question that as i have said this morning that my experience in vietnam very much guided questions, and i think i noted a couple times in my opening statement that it was one fundamental question i always ask, was the policy worthy of the men and women that we are asking to make the sacrifices? and i know there are differences of opinion. you mentioned iraq. you mentioned the surge. my positions there were very much guided by what is the political purpose of the surge? where do we go from here? yes, you put 35,000 more american troops in an area for a sustained period of time or
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more on top of more than 100,000 that we already had there. you will have a tactical victory. but there will be a cost for that victory. and that's what always guided me. do we understand the cost and are we prepared to make those costs in life? and what was the answer? where were we going with the surge?
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how was this going to take us or advance us to where we needed to go? and where did we think we needed to go? so yes, those experiences did shape my decisions. >> speaking to now and the concerns people would have with your nomination.
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perhaps none greater or more immediate than iran's continued progress toward obtaining nuclear weapons. at the same time, the department of defense is entering a time of transformation that will likely define its role for many decades to come. the future of our nuclear deterrence could depend on our choices made by the next secretary of defense. i am going to bring up the report that we have heard about quite a bit. you are listed as the co-author of a report on our nuclear posture. i believe there is a
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recommendation in there, and i believe the recommendation is to drastically reduce the united states' nuclear forces. when we spoke last week, you described this report as being authored by general cartwright, and i had the impression that you were not closely affiliated with that. you are listed as a co-author of that report, as one of the five co-authors. moreover, you told me at that time that this report discussed options. you have reiterated that stance today. after i have reexamined it, the only options i have found in the report are how to best achieve those reductions i believe it advises. there are no alternative to use or dissenting opinions that are discussed in the report. it states many controversial opinions.
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it states them as facts in support of its conclusion, and i believe is important to determine whether or not you agree with those positions. as it has been said before, my time here is limited, and so i would like to quickly go through and review some of those more concerning proclamations that it makes with you. i would appreciate if we could go through this quickly. for example, the united states icbm force has lost its central utility. that is stated in the report. do you agree with that? >> well, senator, that report was not a recommendation. that report, as we have said, is a series of scenarios, and again i use the term "illustrative," because that was the beginning of the report, as possible ways we could continue to reduce our warheads, not
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unilaterally, but bilaterally. every treaty we have ever signed to reduce warheads and the thrust capability with the russians has been about reductions. that is not new. that is where it has always been. icbm's, specific questions. it is a 25-page report. i assume you have read it. it talked about one of the reasons icbm's may eventually be insignificant because of the
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over-flight over russia and so on. those are not fictional analyses. those are facts. no one is recommending in that report -- and you probably know general cartwright in omaha -- these are serious people who understand this business, and no one recommends that we unilaterally do away with our icbm's. what that report was about was looking at where this is going. the title of the report was "modernizing our nuclear strategy," not eliminating it. >> correct, but do you agree with the statement that the icbm's, that force has lost its central utility? >> that is not what the report said. >> i have it cited, and with respect i can enter that into the record, but it is cited in the report. >> the report in the overall context, icbm's, and all the parts of the report were about the utilities of our triad, where is this going, and money that we are investing in that, and we have to look at it. i think those kinds of reports
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are valuable to assess our needs, to assess our nuclear capability, to assess our nuclear deterrent. we do studies all the time. this was not an official report. think tanks do this all the time. i think that is valuable. >> excuse me. i do think that reports from various organizations, think tanks, individuals, groups, i think those are all very important in getting information and opinions out there. but when you co-authored a report, you should be able to answer a few -- if you agree with statements made in the report. >> i do not agree any recommendation that would unilaterally take any action to further reduce our nuclear warheads and our capability. again, that is not what the report said. i do not agree with that. every option that we must look at, every action we must take to reduce warheads or anything
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should be bilateral. it to be verifiable. it should be negotiated. >> every action that this country takes should be bilateral? >> when we are reducing warheads -- every treaty we have signed with russians has been bilateral, has been verifiable. ronald reagan said it best -- trust, but verify. that is the key word. he also said we should wipe nuclear weapons from the face of the earth. i think almost every president has agreed with that, including this president. world leaders agree with the continued reduction, and this is not a report out of the mainstream. president obama has said in his prague speech in 2009 that that was his goal, as many presidents did. >> thank you.
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also, as i read the report, it calls for all u.s. tactical nuclear weapons to be eliminated over the next 10 years and asserts their military utility is practically nil. do you agree with that statement? >> senator, i do not agree with what it calls for. these are scenarios and schedules and possibilities and options. but none of this could ever, ever happen unless it would be negotiated, be bilateral and verifiable, and that was part of a letter the global zero group said to the president in 2009, specifically stating that. if i might, i might give you a more recent example. senator feinstein's subcommittee -- she had a hearing last year. general cartwright and admiral
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pickering -- or ambassador pickering testified, and they went into this. any action we would take would have to be negotiated, it would have to be bilateral, no unilateral action, and they made that point again on the record in front of senator feinstein's subcommittee. and i support that. i agree with that. >> i have another statement from the report. the united states icbm rapid reaction posture remains in operation and runs a real risk of accidental or mistaken launch. i think that statement is pretty clear. do you agree with that? >> yes. i mean, i the accidental launch and those kinds of things are always to be concerned about, and we need to assure as we
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have over the years that that does not happen, but on the russian -- >> that we will run a real risk of accident or mistaken launch? >> if you put just "risk," but there's always a risk. when we are talking about nuclear weapons, and the consequences, as you know, you do not get a lot of second chances. we need to be very sure about these things, and that was the whole point. >> you need to say any additional questions for the second round. >> i am sorry -- i do not -- >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, senator hagel, for testifying. i appreciate the support of your wife. i have some questions for the record, particularly about new york bases. today i want to focus on issues
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from my perspective, talking about your thoughts about israel and israel's security, afghanistan, a personnel issues. on israel, our relationship with israel is tremendously important, and we are tied to them because of being such a strong democracy in middle east and having our national security tied in many ways. we talked about iran, and you have clarified the position that containment is not an option. i am concerned about a statement he said with regard to iran, a nuclear iran is an existential threat the united states as well as israel.
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the iranian government has been responsible for deaths of u.s. service members, an attempted attack on u.s. soil, training of terrorist groups. their latest threat to israel came just today. i want to make sure that your statement earlier today with regard to whether iran is legitimate. i do not understand if you meant it is a legal entity that has international relations and has diplomatic relations and a member of the u.n., but i do not see iran's government as legitimate.
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i would like your thoughts. >> what i meant to say, should have said, it is recognizable, it has been recognized, and is recognized at the united nations. most of our allies have agreed there. that is what i should have said. >> with regard to israel, israel's security is important, and i have been one of the strongest advocates, fighting for more increases in missile defense cooperation as well as coordination on the technology programs that are fundamental to their security. last year a program more than proved itself as missiles headed toward israel. ranking member inhofe and i pushed for full funding of the u.s.-israeli cooperative defense missile system. would you support funding for iron dome and other programs? will you also -- if we have to have a continued resolution, the funding for iron dome will be
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well below the authorized amount for fiscal year 2013. would you recommend reprogramming other funds or setting forth an anomaly budget requested to fully cover our commitment to this program? >> i fully support and will continue to fully support iron dome and arrow. as to a commitment to the second part of your question, i would have to better understand what our restrictions are to be in our budgets. this would be before i could make decisions like that, and i would ask to talk with our chairman of the joint chiefs and each of the chiefs and want a better understanding, depending how deep this sequestration might get. but make no mistake, it is clearly a priority program. i believe we will continue to fund it. we should. i will support the continuing funding. >> i also hope you will be a strong advocate. this is a priority for me. >> if i am confirmed, we will work together as well as this committee on of these issues. >> a number of members were just in egypt, and we are concerned about the sinai becoming a route for arms. we want to figure out a way if there is a way to put more funds to that mission. do you have thoughts on that, and what we can do to try to
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assist in cracking down on the weapons trade? >> it is a huge challenge and part of what allows terrorists, extremists to advance their cause. maritime security, piracy issues i mentioned in my opening statement -- that is all part of why we need to rebalance resources and why we need a flexible, agile base, in particular our navy, to do this. it will continue to have cooperation with our allies.
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we cannot do this as well as our intelligence, the best in the world, military best in the world. we are the largest, wealthiest country in the world, but we have to work with allies, and we have to find that through intelligence before it gets beyond the capacity to be used to do damage against the interests of this country and our allies. >> as israel is one of our most important allies, one of our growing threats is syria, particularly chemical weapons being not properly locked down, and there's concern with what happened yesterday. i suspect there is a close cooperation between our military with respect to syria's chemical weapons, but will this be something you can focus your concern on, because of their
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past statements about israel? is this something you will also commit to in keeping this alliance and making sure we have a strong plan with regard to any chemical weapons coming out of syria? >> yes, and by the way i have said on the record many times that hezbollah and hamas are terrorist groups, and i have said many times on the record that iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. i am committed to that. >> for my last minute, with regard to afghanistan, we have heard your views, and you did not give a specific statement about how many, but will you in your capacity advise the president to be drawing down troops sooner rather than later? >> i think he has made that pretty clear, that he wants to do that, and if i am confirmed, i will need to better understand all the dimensions of this. i do not know all those
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dimensions. i think there is little question -- and i support completely where the president wants to go in afghanistan and his commitment to unwind that war. as we have said, there should be, there will be. he noted he will enforce a new policy, a new relationship based on limited objectives for our troops there, and i support that. >> my last question that i will submit, obviously, the personnel of the military is our most important asset, and when we hear reports there are upwards of 19,000 sexual assaults against women in the military, it is unacceptable. we have finally repealed don't ask don't tell, but it is difficult for a military spouse to go to the commissary or be notified if a spouse is killed in action. i would need a strong
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commitment from you that you will treat our military families and look after them in the wake you would look after your own. i want you to be concerned about every man and woman in the military, that their well-being is being looked at and see real advocacy and leadership, not status quo, not implementing what we put forward, but fighting for them every single day. >> you have my complete commitment on that. i have made that clear to everybody i've spoken to directly and privately. i mentioned that point in my opening statement, if you will recall. i have a pretty clear record on that. i will continue to do that, will do that, and i agree it is not good enough just to say zero tolerance. the whole chain of command needs to be accountable for this all the way down to the bottom, so i will. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. senator graham? >> senator hagel,
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congratulations on your appointment. you are a good, honest man, and i appreciate your willingness to serve the country in the past and be willing to do so in the future. what percentage of gdp do we spend on defense? >> well, we are i think it is probably 5% now in that area. >> at historically high or low? >> generally, it depends on real dollars and wars. >> are we at war? >> we are at war in afghanistan, around the world. >> you agree we are in war in afghanistan, around the world. when you look at spending on defense, understanding we should be aware we are still at
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war. do you agree with that? >> i am sorry -- what? >> do you agree every senator, every member of congress should be understanding that when you vote on a defense budget we are at war? >> yes, i do. >> ok, thank you. now, let's talk about statements you made. you have explained this a bit. you said the jewish lobby bullies a lot of people up here. i am not an israeli senator. i am a united states senator. this pressure makes us to do dumb things at times. you said "jewish lobby" should
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not have been used. name one person in your opinion who is intimidated by the israeli lobby in united states senate? >> well, first -- >> name one. >> i do not know. >> why would you say that? >> i did not have in mind a specific person. >> do you agreed that it is a provocative statement, that i could not think of a more provocative statement about the united states, israel, and congress? name one dumb thing we have been bullied into doing because of or pressured into doing because of the jewish lobby? >> i stated i have regretted that term -- >> you stated back then it makes us do dumb things. give me one example of the dumb things that we are pressure to do up here. >> we were talking in that interview about the middle east, about positions, about israel. >> give me an example of where we have been intimidated by the israeli jewish lobby to do something dumb regarding the middle east, israel, or anywhere else. >> i cannot give you an example. >> do you agree you should not have said that?
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>> i agree. >> do you agree with hezbollah being a terrorist organization? >> yes. >> you'll were one of the senators asked that hezbollah be designated as a terrorist organization for the purposes of being sanctioned. >> i have had a policy during my time in the senate that i did not think it was the right approach for the congress to be sending leaders any instructions or any documents versus letting our president do that -- >> why did you sign a letter to clinton urging him to deal with the russians when it comes to their policy against jewish people? >> because i think that is the appropriate approach. it is for our president to conduct foreign policy.
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>> all i could suggest to you is when a letter is presented to the united states senate about the times in which we live in, you cannot write one letter and not write the other and be consistent. and the letter was urging the e.u. to impose sanctions on hezbollah, and you have been a believer that we should not do it alone, we should do bilaterally. why not take the chance and urge the european union to sanction hezbollah? and your answer is we should not be writing letters, you think the president is the appropriate official. and congress has no interest in whether the e.u. would be sanctioned as a terrorist organization? >> the congress has a responsibility in a lot of things. >> let me ask you this about the iranian revolutionary guard.
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you said a minute ago you think they are a terrorist organization. do you agree? >> yes. >> and you voted against the amendment designating them as a terrorist organization because they are recognized as a state? iran, you would not want to designate the army of a recognized country as a terrorist? >> i just clarified a statement on iran being a recognized nation by the united nations, by most world bodies. the reason why i did not vote, as with 22 other members, because i think jim webb's argument was a strong argument, and that is we have -- and this is what he said -- designated part of a government as a terrorist organization. thereby, what his concern was and what mine is and other dissenters who have voted against it, where to speak to giving the president authority from congress to take military action.
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>> i got you. let me ask you this -- do you believe the sum total of all your votes -- refusing to sign a letter to the e.u. asking hezbollah being designated a terrorist organization, being one of 22 voting to designate the iranian guard a terrorist organization, being one to vote against sanctions that this body was try to impose on iran, statements you have made about palestinians and about the jewish lobby -- all that together, that the image you have created is one of sending the worst possible signal to our enemies and friends at one of the most critical times in world history? and the jewish lobby, the image you have created is one of sending the worst possible signal to our enemies and friends at one of the most critical times in world history. >> i would not agree with that. i have taken actions and a
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statement very clear as to what i believe and hamas are as terrorist organizations. >> if there was a vote on the floor of the senate this afternoon. to label the iranian revolutionary guard. some of the most vicious people. >> i would want to know from the president what they were doing it. >> they are expanding terrorism. they are trying to intimidate their own people.
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if you had a chance to say the card was a terrorist organization, would you still vote no? >> the reason i voted no to star with -- >> you told me that. my question is would you reconsider? >> times change, and i would reconsider. >> that is encouraging. my time is up, but we will have another round. senator inhofe said that you were one of four senators who refused to sign a letter in october, and the first paragraph says we want you to express a solidarity with israel at this moment of crisis and our profound disappointment with arafat and the palestinian authority, where it allows violence to be carried out without restraint. this is when the intifada was being waged, and senator inhofe
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wanted every member of this body to put us on record that we believe arafat and the intifada is undercutting the agreements they had reached and they have resorted to violence to intimidate israel and their people in a way that was absolutely unacceptable. if you had a chance to do it over, would you sign this letter now, and i am going to give it to you during whatever break we at an ask you to reconsider. i would ask you, senator hagel, to tell the country, the world at large, particularly the state of israel, you made a mistake by not signing the letter? >> who is the letter to? >> i will look at that. i cannot recall the letter. i will look at it and give you an answer. >> it was a big deal at an important time, and a lack of signature by you runs chills up my spine because i cannot imagine not signing a letter at a time like that.
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we will consider this conversation. >> thank you, senator graham. we will not go to senator blumenthal. >> thank you, chairman, and i wanted thank senator hagel for his service and his family and expressing appreciation not only to you for your service, but also to our veterans, which people may not appreciate as much as they do, your military service, but is every bit as important to our nation. i want to say about that letter, i was not here when the letter was circulated. i would have signed it, but i would certainly join in urging that you reconsider and commit to the statement of support in a letter for the state of israel.
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i hope you will reconsider expressing your support for it. i noted in your opening statements that no single quote and no single vote defined you in the entirety, and perhaps not as a whole, but votes and quotes do matter, and i think that the questions about what you have said and what you have done in the past are entirely appropriate, i think also reconsidering your views evolving is also appropriate. and i am going to be submitting questions on some of the topics you have heard. we have discussed these questions in your private meetings with members of this body, which have been productive and effective, as you
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have seen in the comments that have been expressed here. the more we hear from you the better you do on many of these issues. i want to begin by talking about one issue that concerns our veterans, particularly our vietnam veterans. many vietnam veterans in connecticut and around the country received less than honorable discharge as a result of contact that was a direct consequence of pst at a time when pst was not a term, not diagnosed, not treated, but they have to live with the consequences of a less than honorable discharge, they have to live with fewer benefits, and i would like a commitment from you that the department of defense will revisit those individual cases as well as the policies to take into account the fact that we now know that many of those veterans during the vietnam era suffered from pst or related kinds of injuries.
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>> you have my commitment to do everything i can about that. i understand the issue pretty well. i have been working on this issue long before i actually ever got to the senate. so i will, thank you. >> thank you. and i would like the same kind of commitment that you have expressed very persuasively the repeal of don't ask don't tell on the issue of sexual assaults. this issue, the military, i do not know if you have seen the document called "the invisible war." i know you are familiar with this issue, and i would ask that your commitment, not only to the prosecution and holding accountable people who are involved in this criminal
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conduct, but also to the victims so they receive the services that in the civilian world many of them do through victims' advocates in the courts and similar kinds of roles played, both the prosecution, effective, vigorous, zealous, but also to protection of victims. can you commit to that? >> absolutely. >> thank you. on the strategic issues, i wonder if i could talk to you for a moment about submarines, which you and i discussed privately briefly. the department of defense, the joint chiefs, the president have all committed to an ohio- class replacement program that consists of a fleet of 12, starting no later than 2031.
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global zero settled on a lower number, 10. i strongly believe that the cost will increase the cost per submarine and we will be at severe risk for reasons that you may well understand, although we cannot really discuss them in detail because they may be classified. i would like a commitment that you are committed as well to a fleet of 12 ohio-class replacement submarines. >> on that issue, i would want to talk with our chief of naval operations. i will get a better understanding of our budget. i can tell you this, i am
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committed completely to modernizing our navy and everything it includes and will require. i will give you that commitment. >> i am sure you know the higher-class replacement program is the cornerstone of our nuclear deterrence, but it requires a clear leadership and support from the next secretary of defense, so i hope you will perhaps come back to us on that issue. >> i will. you and i will be discussing this many times if i am confirmed, so thank you. >> thank you. going to the virginia-class submarines, the next multi-year purchase known as block 4 envisions 10 submarines. there is a threat that it could be reduced to nine for reasons related to costs and national security. i think that number should be
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10. the intent and spirit of the last national defense authorization act was that it should be 10, and i would like to act you similarly for your commitment that there will be two submarines for 2014 and that the program continues to be viable at the level of 10. >> senator, i will commit to what we have committed to to carry out what we need to fund it and develop and build in order to maintain the kind of modern navy we will require. those submarines are cornerstones to that security. >> they are absolutely, vital cornerstones, the essential building blocks to our national security as we move to the pacific-asia theater.
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they have the intelligence and reconnaissance and surveillance capability as well as counterterrorism importance, so i hope that effort will continue, and i appreciate your commitment. let me finish with a question that i think goes back to the contracting area where you were asked questions before. senator ayotte and i went on a trip led by senator mccain recently, this in afghanistan, and we were briefed and i will try to make this question brief. about the continuing corruption in the afghanistan government, deeply troubling, and even shocking, but equally so is the waste of american taxpayer dollars, in part because of the procedural roadblocks to enforcement of section 841. i will not quiz you on 841, so you can take a deep breath.
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841 is designed to protect americans' tax dollars from corrupt contracts that benefit the enemy. we are working in provisions that will make more effective the procedures for terminating those contracts, getting back american dollars, extending those protections to non-defense dollars, and i hope that we can have your commitment to work with us on that area. >> you have that commitment. i will enthusiastically work with you in this area. >> thank you. i appreciate your frank and forthright answers, and i do not know whether i will be here for the second round of questioning, but i want to express my sincere gratitude to you for your willingness to serve and your patience and forthrightness in entering all our questions. thank you. >> thank you, senator blumenthal. >> thank you, senator hagel, for being here today and thank you for your service to this country.
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it is good to see your wife and brothers behind you as an indication of the family commitment as well as your personal commitment. there are several things i may get to in a second round on iran and sanctions. i was very involved on that effort when i was in the house. our relationship with israel is of great concern to me and is a priority to our efforts in the middle east, and i think that is largely exhausted in this first run, and least from my point of view. i may want to come back to that later. i want to talk about the ongoing structure of the force. "the wall street journal" said the american military was the smallest in recent memory.
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that may not mean that we are not as bad already as any others in the world, but that is a recognition that our investment and the way we view those resources has gotten them in a position where we need to be more focused on rebuilding than we do building down. senator, secretary panetta has been forthcoming in his comments about the across-the-board approach of sequestration. what do we do to get our worn- out equipment and worn-out personnel in a better position a year from now than they are right now? could you give me your brief, strategic view of that? >> senator, you have just identified one of the priorities of the next few years at the department of defense -- resetting equipment and the
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essentially reshaping our force structure, but also renewing our force structure. the fact is we have been at war for 12 years. ever senator knows and you have constituents that we keep sending these kids back and back and back and back to two wars. of course, there are going to be consequences, and you cannot keep doing that. that will be an overall challenge that will take us much of my time if i am confirmed as anything, as it will our chiefs who know this better than anyone, as we structure for it.
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i believe we have a force structure that is as capable as ever. i do not accept that our force structure is somehow behind or not capable. i do not think that is true. >> the point that the editorial was making was not that we were behind, but we are not on the cutting edge as we may have been, and i would hope you and i would want to get there. let me ask a question about that. secretary gates said recently that one of his big concerns was that we repeat the mistake of the procurement holiday in the 1970's, and we spent a lot of time, 10 years, after that getting built back to where we hoped to be. how in these discussions of cutting do we keep the lines open, do we keep our effort ongoing? one of the things i know quite a bit about is the f-18 line, because it is in st. louis
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where boeing military is, and if we ever close that line down, when we come about whatever the country needs, some version of this, and how we keep this at capacity at a time when there is this talk about cutting and not just cutting, but cutting everything a little bit, which means that some of the things that can cut a little bit disappear because they cannot survive if they are only partly there. >> senator, you have just again identified one of the great challenges that lies ahead. that is maintaining our industrial base. you used the f-18 -- >> that is just one of the lines i have been on. >> i understand. that is a good example, what we are going to have to continue to keep strong, but the reality is, as you say, because we know what we have to deal with, when our budgets are as the result of the budget act of 2011.
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when we do not know brings us back to the uncertainty of sequestration, as some of the examples you are using are good examples of areas that could be cut arbitrarily in order to fulfill budget requirements. i think what you have just noted again is going to be a huge part of keeping our technological superiority, our edge. senator blumenthal mentioned submarines as another component of this. all the superior technical edge
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this country has possessed since world war ii has kept us, along with other things and for other reasons, the strongest military power in the history of man. that must be maintained. threats change. 10 years ago nobody had any idea about what we were talking about with cyber. >> we have made efforts with our allies and friends to give them some other version of equipment we had, maybe not as good as we had, something that keeps our defense airlines in place so that when we do need them, they're still there, and that is critically important. before you were designated secretary of defense, as the potential nominee for the job, in talking about sequestration, you made a comment about there is a lot of bloat.
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i am sure you talked about this. it's quite a bit. what do you have in mind there? what is being done at the pentagon that can be better be done somewhere else or is being duplicated somewhere else? maybe to follow up on that, i saw you mentioned things that should be in the state department have gotten over to the pentagon. are there examples of that that we could work on and you will want to lead on? >> two things. that comment came in a large interview about budgets, about everything, and that interview was done in 2011 prior to the budget control act, to get the time from right on that. i never supported sequestration, by the way. now to your question about what we could do. much of the conversation has been about acquisition, which is fraud, abuse, billions of dollars.
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why are we not auditing these programs? that is certainly an area that we are going to have to take a look at. my reference to the state department programs, some of the areas i mentioned this morning where we have pushed down on the military in the last 12 years to do things that usually are done out of the state department, aid-type programs, exchange programs, civilian programs. that was all given -- but a great deal of that was given to the military. the military has taken on a tremendous volume of assignments and funding that goes with that that needs to be sorted through, i think. those are areas where i think -- >> and one of your commitments will be to help sort through that? >> it has to be. >> i am out of time. i will be here for the second
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round. >> thank you. senator donnelly? >> thank you, mr. chairman and mr. ranking member, it is an honor to be a part of this committee. i look forward to working with mike collins, and i am proud to serve the people of indiana. we are the heartland of america, and, senator hagel, we have over 40,000 members of the national guard in our state. we have the fourth largest contingent of national guard members in the entire country. i want to thank you for your service to the country, you along with all veterans, for what you have done for our nation. i appreciate you taking the time to meet with me. we had an extensive discussion, and your understanding of the complex challenges we face in the middle east and the importance of our alliance with israel -- it is a special and historic relationship. i believe it is a special and
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historic relationship. my people in my state believe that as well. it was important for you to let everyone know that there can be no nuclear iran, that there are lines that cannot be crossed, and we will defend our friends and the entire world in that area. i told you about my visit to crane systems in indiana, which creates technologies to control the spectrum, try to win the battlefield before the battlefield ever starts on the ground. we were wondering what can be done in this time of challenge and budgets to ensure that in the area of technology, in the area of spectrum, we can maintain our budget so that before the war has started on the ground we have won it on the spectrum level?
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how credible is that in terms of your planning in the defense department? >> senator, i think that focuses on as much the core of challenge that the pentagon has in front of it than any one thing. this committee will be particularly important to help the leaders of the pentagon sort through that, because as evidenced in the whole series of questions that have been asked today, senator blunt's most recent questions, these are times of priorities. budgets drive that, but missions should always drive everything. what are going to be our missions in the defense department over the next few years? how will we resource missions? what are the priorities going to
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be? and what is the entire universe of what their responsibilities are and how do we carry those responsibilities out to secure nation? more general questions, and most of the questions asked here today, have been about this. until i would get over to the pentagon, if i am confirmed, and understand more of the specifics and work with the chiefs and get a better grasp of exactly what we have got, i will not be in a position to be able to say this or this or we will do this or we will not. obviously, that is why i say this committee, the authorizing committees, are going to be particularly -- >> i mentioned over 14,000 guard members and our state, army reserves, and they have done tour after tour after tour in iraq and afghanistan.
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as we wind down, i think it is critical to make sure that we have a strategic plan for the guard in the future. the guard we have today, equipment-wise, is struggling on command, we have to upgrade our vehicles but other areas as well. i guess the question is how do you view the mission of the guard in the years ahead? >> well, as you know during our conversation and a couple of the questions i have had here today on the guard, i am committed to a strong national guard. it is an essential part of our force structure going into the future, and it was proven quite fairly and effectively the last 12 years. that will be maintained, and i
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think further evidence of that, putting a chief of the national guard into the joint chiefs. you have my commitment that i will be continually focus on that integration and the upgrading it in every way. >> i had the privilege of working with general shinseki in recent years. as he testified about iraq and how many trips he thought was needed, and the repercussions that came out of that, not only for the general, but in so many other ways it is critical that the generals and the people in the pentagon provide the most -- information possible. they tell you exactly what they think. you tell them exactly what you think. nobody at any time has their career affected for telling you the truth. i'd want to make sure that that is the way you are approaching this.
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>> that is the way i approach this. i value that. there's no other way to assure that we are getting the best, the most honest advice from our most capable leaders than to say it like that. the general shinseki episode was a very unfortunate episode in this country, what happened to him for telling the truth. if i am secretary of defense, that kind of thing will never happen, that a senior officer be handled and treated that way when he told the truth to the congress. >> i will say this, the job he has done for our veterans as the v.a. secretary has been extraordinary. >> i will say, and i know you know this, the job he has done for veterans is extraordinary.
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another challenge we have for veterans and for active 2-d is the suicide -- active-duty, is the suicide rate, losing more members in 2012 than fighting in afghanistan. i know the general has basically dedicated his life to trying to solve this problem. i want to make sure the defense department will clean all in to try to fix this and provide answers so the number goes to zero in years ahead. >> you have my complete commitment on this issue. >> it is something veterans face and also a transition issue. as much as you can work with the va as our active-duty transitions out, when they go home, that they have somebody to talk to, tell them how they feel and understand what they are going through because if we can help them with that -- they have borne the burden of battle and we owe them everything.
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another question i wanted to ask you about was pakistan. incredible challenges in afghanistan -- so much of them are caused by pakistan. we are providing about $2.5 billion in aid. do you think those dollars were well spent? >> pakistan is a complicated relationship. it is a nuclear power. they cooperate with the united states on some things. we have difficulties with them on others.
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as to your question on investment in pakistan, we condition that assistance, as you know. we must continue to condition that assistance. i think text and is too dangerous, -- pakistan is too dangerous, we cannot just walk away from it. it is complicated, in perfect, but this is where all of the levels of influence, diplomacy, economics and power come into play. how we wisely use those resources will determine the outcomes. we have to be honest as well. we are dealing with factors there that we do not agree with, that we have difficulties with, but, again, we have to continue to work at it and i believe we will and should.
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>> thank you very much. >> thank you, senator donnelly. senator cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to begin by thanking you for your honorable service to the nation, the personal sacrifice in fighting for this country. >> thank you. >> i would like to address a question of process. you have described giving hundreds of speeches and interviews and his committee asked you to submit those speeches and in response you handed over a total of four speeches. in my view that submission was spatially insufficient for this committee to assess your record.
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indeed your financial disclosure shows you were paid in the past year for 12 speeches yet you did not even handover those speeches for which you are paid a substantial, the money. six members send you a letter asking for financial disclosures. you have not chosen to respond to that and -- letter. it asked you about the private organizations that paid you, and the degree to which those funding sources have come from foreign nationals, foreign sovereign debt funds. you chose not to respond to that letter. in my view, unless and until you respond, this committee does not have a proper record on which to assess your confirmation and we need photos are an adequate time to assess -- full disclosure and adequate time to assess that.
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with respect to the international criminal court, do you believe the united states should become a party to the international criminal court. >> senator, may i quickly respond to your first comment. >> i would like for you to answer my question, why time is limited. >> that question is one i will most -- likely not be dealing with as secretary of defense. >> do you think we should be a member? i am asking for your judgment. >> i support where the united states is today. >> you think we should not be a party. thank you. i would like to draw your attention to an interview you did in 2009 with al jazeera, and with the chairman's indulgence, if we can play and excerpt of that interview.
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[audio clip] >> go ahead with your question. >> hello, sir, good evening. it is a very good proposition, but very strongly i believe that -- leadership around the world -- there is a moral savior going on. unless they have a moral catastrophe, for example, look at palestine. there is a war crime and they are not dealing with it. if you look at sri lanka, the genocide going on, nothing is being done.
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[indiscernible] >> what is your question with regard to the issue? ask given the -- >> given the total moral failure, unless we bring them to moral judgment, nothing can be done. >> i think you are exactly right and i said in my opening statement that leadership is critical because in life nothing is ever accomplished without leadership. >> in that excerpt, the caller suggested that the nation of israel has committed war crimes and your response was not to dispute that characterization, but indeed to describe what he says as "well, i think that is exactly right." i would like to ask you, do you think the nation of israel has
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committed war crimes. >> no, i do not, senator. i would like to look at the full context of the interview, but to answer your question, no. >> we laid the entirety of the question for you to hear -- played the entirety of the question and your response. i would suggest that the suggestion that israel has committed war crimes is particularly offensive given that the jewish people suffered through the hollow class -- holocaust, and for the secretary of defense not to take issue with that claim is highly troubling. i would also point out in 2006 your characterization of the nation of israel's action, and that was in a speech on the floor of the senate, referring
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to israel's military campaign against the terrorist group hezbollah as a "sickening slaughter." do you think it is right that israel was committed -- committing a "sickening slaughter?" >> again, i would like to read all of what i said, but i have said every nation has the right to defense -- defend itself. >> do you think a "sickening slaughter" would be a war crime? >> it depends on defending yourself. >> is defending yourself against terrorism typically characterized as "sickening slaughter?"
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let's play another expert -- exit. >> we have any e-mail from wendy who writes can the rest of the world -- the image of the united states is that of the world's bully -- do we need not to change the perception if we are asking to lay down arms? >> her observation is a good one and relevant. yes, and it is a good question. >> do you think it is appropriate for the civilian leader of us military forces to agree with the statement that both the perception and the reality is that the united states is "the world's bully?"
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>> i did not hear her stick -- say that, and my comment was that it was relevant and a good observation, not that i agree with it. >> with respect, the record speaks for itself that she said the us is the world's bully, and you said her observation is a good one, i agree with it, and yes to her question. you agreed with the characterization of the united states as the world only, and i would suggest that is not a characterization -- the united states has spilled more blood, more treasure, standing for freedom, liberating people across the world, and to go on al jazeera, a foreign network, broadcasting propaganda to nations that are hostile to us and to explicitly agree with the characterization of the united states as the world's bully i would suggest is not the conduct one would expect of the senator of decks -- secretary of defense.
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ex-senator, she said that was an observation. >> she said perception and reality. with that, my time has expired. >> thank you. what we will do, given the fact that some of those tapes -- they need to be transcribed to be made part of the record so that people can judge exactly what was said and what was asked. i heard that first question as a response to the need for moral leadership, by the way, not the way senator cruz did, but in any event it is important that the words be transcribed and made part of the record.
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i told senator cruz that i'd refer we have a transcript and you the asked questions from a transcript but i did not want to stop him from offering the tape of it. he went ahead and did it, and in any event the fair thing is that the transcript of each of those segments be made part of the record and that we give senator hagel an opportunity should he want either on this question, or other questions, an opportunity to record -- answer for the record in any way he might proceed. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we would be happy to provide a transcript and we will make public a link to these excerpts and the entire transcript. >> that would be very helpful. thank you, senator cruz. senator her ronald -- her ronald -- herono. >> think you, mr. chairman. we live in a complex world, and
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any secretary of defense should ask tough questions, maybe not politically popular questions, and i see you as that kind of person given your comments to the questions asked of you today and the conversation you and i had. turning to your statement this morning, you talked about looking at future threats and challenges, and why the department of defense is rebalancing for the asia pacific region.
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this is important for hawaii. would you expand as to why and what particular economic or national security factors come into play as we rebalance to the asia-pacific region? >> senator, you know better than most your region and its importance, and why it will continue to be important to the world, but certainly to the united states. as i noted in my opening statement and you know, we have always been a pacific power. we have been a pacific power because we have clear economic interests, strong allies and i mentioned some of them in my opening statement. when we look at the growth of the economy, trade growth, population growth, the rise of china, but not just china -- that entire asia-pacific region -- we need to stay relevant to opportunities as well as challenges in all areas, particularly those we see
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emerging as to the largest, most significant economic security issues and opportunities. it is important that any nation rebalance assets. you have to be relevant to the times, the shifts, the changes. the world is different than it was 12 years ago. our force structure is being refit. we are looking at a far more agile, flexible force structure as our economies become more agile and flexible. for all of those reasons and more, that is why we are doing what i think is exactly the right thing to do, but it does not mean we are abandoning anyone, or any part of the world.
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we can not. >> senator, as we live in times of budget constraints, will you commit to keeping this committee informed as you develop strategies and contemplate posture adjustments that go along with this kind of rebalancing? >> yes, and i look forward to it. >> i am always heartened by the factor that you always -- fact that you ask the question is the policy worthy of the men and women we sent into battle. i am heartened by that perspective. what would be your top priorities as you look to care for the men and women in uniform and their families? that's as i said in my opening statement, -- >> as i said in my opening statement, the welfare, the safety, the success of our men and women in -- in uniform is my top priority, and will continue to the.
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>> do you have any specifically programmatic ways you will reflect that? >> first, to implement the law. we have a number of new laws, policies that are in the process of being implemented. we have spoken about some here today. i will assure, if confirmed, that we do that. as i said in my opening statement, we will assure that every military man and woman and their families are given exactly the same opportunities and rights as each other and all members of the armed forces. >> i also take to heart your
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belief in the importance of the coordination and the work between the department of defense and the va. i understand you have a strong relationship with secretary shin seki. having been a senior leader in the veterans administration, what will be your primary challenges and goals as you look to collaborate with the secretary and the va? >> it will be the same that secretary panetta, and before him, secretary gates, initiated in closer collaboration between the two agencies, and that means the integration of our systems as our men and women transition out of active duty into civilian life or retired life and require the assistance of some veterans assistance programs.
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a closer integration -- we know that the backlogs now are still far too long to get you valuation's of whether it is ptsd or whatever the health issue is. i think continuing to work with the secretary as secretary panetta engaged it, but strengthening those levels of leadership where people understand each other better and maximize the resources that each agency has in making those resources more value-added and count more. >> i had an opportunity to meet with secretary shin seki recently, and those are not happening as expeditiously as we would like, so i hope you would have a real need sense of urgency about these efforts because the bottom line is to help our men and women
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transitioning into civilian life. i hope we have that strong commitment. >> you have my strong commitment. >> the department of defense is the us's largest consumer of energy. we talked about that briefly. it is clear the military will benefit from cheaper, more stable fuel costs over the long term and promising work is being done in the area to commercialize alternative fuels that can be produced abundantly in the united states. this is very important for all of our -- hawaii. if confirmed, will you continue to emphasize and prioritize
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research, development and where possible deployment of renewable fuels, as well as enhanced energy efficiency efforts to reduce the department of defense's energy costs over the long term? >> senator, as you noted, the department of defense is the largest user of certainly liquid fuels, but i think our energy budget -- i do not know the exact number, but it is probably around $18 billion a year. anything we can do to make any aspect of securing our country more cost-effective, we need to look at. i would make that a high priority if i am confirmed and go to the defense department -- to see how we do that, how we continue to do that he cousin in the end, for all the reasons you know, -- because in the end, for all the reasons you know, it is in the interest of our country, resources and people.
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>> continuing to fund these areas will accrue huge cost savings for dod. thank you, my time is up. >> thank you, senator hirono. here is the situation we have. the first vote is a 10 minute boat and the subsequent votes are 10 minutes. i am happy to call upon you now, but you will have to keep track of this. i would be happy to recess now instead of your -- after your questions. we will recess for the five votes, about one hour. would you like to start now and take the chance that you do not finish, or start after the hour recess?
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>> i had better not miss the possibility of missing a vote, so i would prefer to recess now. >> we will recess for about one hour, and that the last vote, it is up to five votes, but the final vote, final passage of the debt limit will -- we will begin about five minutes after the beginning of that vote. we will stand in recess.
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>> the committee will come back to order. senator leaks. >> thank you, senator for joining us today and for answering the questions so far. i would like to talk about israel. it is america's most important ally in the middle east and in many respects, the entire world. a lot of people are concerned about making sure that the alliance remains strong and making sure our interests as americans are protected abroad. a lot of us feel one of the best ways of protecting american national security is through the alliance in the middle east.
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on april 12, 2010 -- 2002, there was a palestinian terrorist to decimated a bomb in downtown jerusalem, killing six israelis and wounding 100 others. on that day, you gave a speech on the senate floor and made some comments that i would like to discuss with you. in one segment of the speech, you said we understand israel's right to defend itself. we are committed to that. we will continue to do so but we should -- it could not be at the expense of the palestinian people. in is a palestinian people and israelis pay high-priced. some who have read that have reacted with concern that this may be indicative of a feeling on your part that there might be some moral equivalency between on the one hand israel's
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exercise of its right to defend itself and palestinian terrorism. do you believe there is moral equivalency between these two things? >> absolutely not. >> do you understand how others might read this statement and could lead to that impression? >> i do. >> do palestinians, those who have engaged in acts of terrorism, perhaps in reaction to israel, and do they have a legitimate right? >> terrorism can never be justified. >> is there grievance legitimate? what the palestinians? >> yes, the palestinians to decide to strap a bomb on to themselves and detonate it or otherwise engaged in acts of terror. >> they have grievances. >> they have grievances.
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